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The great host of books which have been written 
upon the early history of Christianity have, amidst 
all their differences, one characteristic in common. 
They are almost entirely based upon the study of 
Christian documents. This of course is natural, and 
no investigation which should neglect those docu- 
ments would lead to results of any value. But the 
field of inquiry is not exhausted when the Christian 
literature has been thoroughly explored. There is a 
Jewish literature which also needs to be examined. 
Considering that, historically, Christianity is an out- 
growth from Judaism, and that the Judaism with 
which the origin of Christianity was contemporary 
was the Judaism not of the prophets but of the 
Rabbis, it is obvious that the Rabbinical literature 
must also be consulted if a thorough investigation 
into the origin of Christianity is to be made. The 
necessity of examining the Rabbinical literature is 
of course denied by no scholar who has written on 
early Christian history, but such examination cannot 
be said to have been as yet thoroughly carried out. 
For the most part a few references are given to 
passages in the Mishnah and the Gemaras, or a line 



or two translated. Few readers have at hand the 
means of verifying these references ; and thus even 
the careful and accurate scholarship of writers like 
Keim and Schiirer does not prove very helpful, since 
their readers cannot go to the sources which are 
pointed out. And even Keim and Schiirer indicate 
but a small proportion of the material which is avail- 
able in the Rabbinical literature. Edersheim does 
know that literature as none but a Jew can know it, 
and makes abundant reference to it ; but the value 
of his work as a historical study is much diminished 
by a strong theological bias, apart from the fact 
already mentioned, that it is usually impossible for 
the reader to verify the quotations. No blame of 
course attaches to these and many other scholars, 
who have made incidental reference to the Rabbinical 
literature, for the incompleteness and scantiness of 
such reference. It can hardly be said to come within 
the scope of any of the works referred to above to 
give in full the Rabbinical material to which reference 
is made. 

It is the object of this book to try and present 
that material with some approach to completeness, 
in order to put within the reach of scholars who have 
not access to the Rabbinical literature the full text 
of the passages bearing on the subject, together with 
translation and commentary. It is hoped that this 
may be the means of supplying a want that as yet 
remains unsatisfied, viz., of a work that shall let the 
Christian scholar know what the Rabbinical literature 
really does contain bearing on the origin and early 
history of Christianity. It would be rash to say that 
the collection of passages contained in this book is 


exhaustive ; in a great wilderness like the Talmud 
and the Midrashim one can never be sure that some 
passage of interest and importance has not been over- 
looked. But I believe it will be found that the chief 
material available for the purpose has been gathered 
together ; and though it should not be quite com- 
plete, it will yet suffice to throw light upon several 
points of interest. Even if the reader should be 
of opinion that, after all, the Rabbinical literature 
does not add much to what is known of Christian 
history from other sources, he may at least reflect 
that now he does know what that Rabbinical 
literature contains. 

The period covered by the passages cited extends 
to the middle of the fourth century a.d., i.e., roughly 
speaking, the period for which the Talmud is avail- 
able. No reference whatever will be made to medi- 
aeval polemics between Jews and Christians. My object 
is to put before the reader all that I can find which 
illustrates the relation between Jews and Christians 
during the first four centuries of the common era, 
and to do this solely from the Jewish side. I shall 
make no attempt whatever to present the case from 
Christian documents, because this has already been 
thoroughly done. Further, I wish to write solely 
from the point of view of historical scholarship, 
with no bias towards either of the two great 
religions whose representatives are mentioned in the 
passages dealt with. My only aim is to present facts, 
in the shape of statements contained in ancient 
Jewish writings, and to extract from those state- 
ments whatever information they may afford bearing 
on the historical problem of the early history of 


Christianity. As a Christian who has for several 
years found his chief and absorbing intellectual 
interest in the study of the Rabbinical literature — so 
far as other and more pressing claims on his time 
would allow — I offer this book as a contribution to 
Christian scholarship, and I trust that the great 
Jewish scholars, whose works have been of so much 
help to me, will not frown on my small incursion 
into their domain. 

I have only to add an expression of cordial thanks 
to the Rev. S. Alfred Steinthal for his kindness in 
reading the proofs. 

Stand, Manchester, 
October 1903. 






Passages from the Rabbinical Literature, . 



Birth and parentage of Jesus, . 


Mary the mother of Jesus, 


Jesus alleged to be a " Mamzer," 


Covert reference to Jesus, 


Ancestry of the Mother of Jesus, 


Alleged confession by the Mother of Jesus, 


Jesus and his Teacher, .... 


Jesus a Magician, .... 


Jesus burns his Food, .... 


The claim of Jesus denied, 


The voice of Balaam, .... 


Jesus and Balaam, . . . 


Jesus and Balaam in Hell, 


The age of Balaam, .... 


Balaam and the Name of God, . 


The Chapter concerning Balaam, 


The Trial of Jesus, .... 


The Execution of Jesus, .... 


The Disciples of Jesus, .... 


Ben Netzer, ..... 






Section i. Descriptions and Definitions of Minim and 

Gehazi (Paul ?), .... 

Ben Damah and Jacob the Min, 

The grandson of R. Jehoshua and a Min, 

R. Abahu and Jacob the Min, . 

A Contest of Miracles, . 

Miracles by Jews and Minim, . [ 

The Fate of the Minim hereafter, 

The Formula against the Minim, 

R. Eliezer arrested for Minuth, . 

Books of the Minim; Imma Shalom and a Christian 

Judge, .... 

How the Books of the Minim are to be treated 
Books of the Law written by a Min, 
The Books of the Minim do not defile the hands 
The Books of the Be Abidan, Be Nitzraphi, 
The Nazarene Day, 
Gentile and Min, 

No dealings to be had with Minim, 
Jewish origin of the Minim, 
Haggadah against Minuth, 
Minim and Circumcision, 
The Principle of Minuth, 
Scriptural Indications of Minuth, 
Signs of Minuth ; liturgical variations, 
Signs of Minuth ; liturgical omissions, 
The Kingdom turned to Minuth, 
Rome pretending to be the true Israel, 



Section ii. Polemical encounters between Jews and 

The Minim of Capernaum and Hananjah, 
The Minim and R. Jonathan, 
The Minim and R. Jehudah ben Naqosa, 
R. Jehoshua, Caesar and a Min, . 




R. Jehoshua and a Min ; " Thou brier ! " 

R. Jehoshua, R. Gamliel, R. El'azar and R. Aqiba and a 

Min ; God keeps Sabbath, 
R. Gamliel and the Minim : Resurrection, 
R. Gamliel and a Min ; God and Israel, . 
Beruria and a Min ; children of Hell, 
R. Jehudah ha-Qadosh and a Min ; unity of God, 
R. Ishmael ben Jose and a Min ; unity of God, . 
R. Hanina and a Min ; Israel and the Gentiles, 
R. Hanina and a Min ; Rejection of Israel, 
R. Hanina and a Min ; Land of Israel, . 
R. Jannai, R. Jonathan and a Min ; grave of Rachel, 
R. Simlai and the Minim ; Two Powers, 
R. Abahu, R. Saphra and the Minim, 
R. Abahu and the Epiqurosin ; Enoch, . 
R. Abahu and the Minim ; anachronisms in Scripture, 
R. Abahu and the Minim ; souls of the departed, 
R. Abahu and a Min ; God a jester, a priest, 
R. Abahu and a Min ; the coming of the Messiah, 
R. Abahu and a Min ; Sason, 
R. Ami and a Min ; Resurrection, 
Gebiha ben Pesisa and a Min ; Resurrection, 
R. Tanhuma, Caesar and a Min, . 
R. Idi and a Min ; Metatron, 
R. Abina and a Min, 



Section Hi. Polemical allusions to Minim, Minutk. 

Unity of God ; 

man created solitary, 


Unity of God ; 

texts appealed to by Minim, 


Unity of God ; 

" an offering to JHVH," 


Unity of God ; 

Two Powers, 


Unity of God ; 

" He who will err," 


Unity of God ; 

God has no Son, 


Unity of God ; 

God has no Son, 


Unity of God ; 

son of the harlot, 


Unity of God ; 

a second God, 


The "carping' 

' of the Minim, . 







Section iv. Miscellaneous Passages referring to Minim 

Ground of departure of the Minim, 

" Do not give place to the Minim," 

A Canon of Minuth, 

A chance for the Minim ; Pharaoh, 

Four classes of Minim, . 

Words of the Minim, 

" They that hate me " ; the Minim, 

A reply to the Minim ; Genealogies, 

The Minim and the New Moon, 

The Minim and Alexander the Great, 

Minim ; casual references, 

Jacob of Chephar Neburaia, 

The Priesthood of Melchizedek, 



Chap. I. The Jesus-Tradition, 

II. The Minim, .... 

§ i. Etymology of the word Min, 
§ ii. Who were the Minim ? 
§ iii. The Place of the Minim in History, 







of Subjects, . . . . 

. 438 



Persons mentioned, 

. 439 



Places mentioned, 

. 443 



O.T. Passages referred to, 

. 443 



N.T. Passages referred to, 




Rabbinical Passages referred to, 

. 446 




M. =Mishnah; thus, M. Gitt. ix. 10 means Mishnah, 
treatise Gittin, chapter ix., section 10. 

T. = Tosephta; thus, T. Sanh. viii. 7 means Tosephta, 
treatise Sanhedrin, chapter viii., section 7. 

O.T. = Old Testament. 

N.T. = New Testament. 

R. = Rabbi, or Rab; thus, R. Jehoshua means Rabbi 

Passages from the Rabbinical literature are cited by the leaf and 
the page, or the leaf and the column, following the name of the 
treatise. Passages from the Jerusalem Talmud are distinguished 
by the letter j before the name of the treatise, those from the 
Babylonian Talmud by the letter b similarly placed ; thus j. Hag. 
means Jerusalem Talmud, treatise Hagigah ; b. B. Mez. means 
Babylonian Talmud, treatise Baba Mezia. 

The names of the several treatises, which are the same for 
Mishnah, Tosephta, and both Talmuds, also the names of the 
Midrashim, are abbreviated as follows : — 


A. d. R. N. 

A. Zar. 

Bamm. r. 

Ber. r. 

B. Q. 
B. Mez. 
B. Bathr. 
Debar, r. 
Der. er. z. 
Ech. r. 
Esth. r. 


I Aboth de Rabbi 
[ Nathan. 

Abhodah Zarah. 
[ Bammidbar Rab- 
[ bah. 
Bereshith Rabbah. 
Baba Qama. 
Baba Mezia. 
Baba Bathra. 
Debarim Rabbah. 

Derech Eretz Zuta. 
Echah Rabbah. 
Esther Rabbah. 













M. Qat. 

Moed Qatan. 







R. ha-Sh. 

Qoheleth Rabbah. 
Rosh ha-Shanah. 







Shem. r. 

Shemoth Rabbah. 

Sh. ha-Sh. 

j Shir ha-Shirim 
r ' \ Rabbah. 







Vajiq. r. 

Vajiqra Rabbah. 



Mishnah. Amsterdam, 1685. 

Talmud Jerushalmi. Krotoschin, 1 866. 

Talmud Babli. Wilna, 1880-85. 

Hesronoth ha-Shas. No date. 

Rabbinowicz, R. Diqduqe Sopherim, Variae Lectiones in Mishnam 

etTalm. Babylonicum, 1867-1886. 
Tosephta. Ed. Zuckermandel, 1881. 
Siphri. Ed. Friedmann, 1864. 
Siphra. Ed. Weiss, 1862. 
Mechilta. Ed. Friedmann, 1870. 
Pesiqta de R. Kahana. Ed. Buber, 1 868. 
Pesiqta Rabbathi. Ed. Friedmann, 1880. 
Tanhuma. Ed. Buber, 1885. 
Midrash Rabboth. Wilna, 1887. 
Jalqut Shimoni. Warsaw, 1875. 
Frankel, Z. Darke ha-Mishnah, 1859. 

„ Mebo ha-jerushalmi, 1870. 

Levy, J. Neuhebraisches Worterbuch, 1876-1889. 

„ Chaldaisches Worterbuch, 1867. 

Sepher ha-Aruch. Basel, 1599. 

Hamburger, J. Realencyclopadie fiir Bibel u. Talmud, 1870-1901. 
Zunz, L. Gottesdienstliche Vortrage der Juden, 1 832. 
Jost, J. M. Geschichte des Judenthums, 1857. 
Gratz, H. Geschichte der Juden. 

Weiss, J. H. Geschichte der Judischen Tradition, 1871. 
Weber, F. System der Altsynagogale Palestinensische Theologie, 

Bacher, W. Agada der Tannaiten, 1884-90. 

„ Agada der Babylonischen Amoraer, 1878. 

„ Agada der Palestinensischen Amoraer, 1892-1899. 

Laible H. Jesus Christus im Talmud. Berlin, 1891. 
Friedlander. Der vorchristlichejiidische Gnosticismus. Gdttingen, 


Christianity in Talmud and 


The passages from the Talmud and other Rabbinical 

works which will be considered in the following pages 

are excerpts from a literature of enormous extent, in 

which the intellectual energy of the Jewish nation 

during many centuries found ample and varied 

expression. To give a detailed account of this 

literature would lead me far from my main subject, 

and would, moreover, need a considerable volume for 

its full description. All that seems necessary here is 

to give in a few words a general account of the 

Rabbinical literature, so that the reader may be able 

to judge of the kind of evidence furnished by the 

passages which will be quoted, from some knowledge 

of their origin. 

The details of date, authorship and contents of the 

several writings may be found in works of reference 

accessible to scholars, such as Zunz' " Gottesdienst- 

liche Vortrage der Juden," Hamburger's " Real-En- 

cyklopadie fur Bibel und Talmud," or, for English 

readers, the " Introduction to Hebrew Literature " 



of Etheridge, a work of considerable value, in spite 
of the strong theological bias of the writer. 

In an often quoted passage (Aboth, i. 1 sq.) the 
Talmud declares that " Moses received Torah x from 
Sinai and delivered it to Joshua, and Joshua to the 
Elders, and the Elders to the prophets, and the 
prophets delivered it to the men of the Great Syna- 
gogue. Simeon the Just was of the remnants of the 
Great Synagogue .... Antigonos of Socho re- 
ceived from Simeon the Just .... Jose ben Joezer 
of Zereda, and Jose ben Johanan of Jerusalem 
received from them." 2 Then follow the names of 
successive pairs of teachers down to Hillel and Sham- 
mai, who were contemporary with the beginning of 
the Christian era; and after these are mentioned 
singly the leading Rabbis of the first two centuries. 
The treatise, ' Pirqe Aboth/ as its title indicates, is 
a collection of ' Sayings ' by these ' Fathers ' of Israel. 
Now, whatever may be thought of the historical 
accuracy of the statement just quoted, it expresses 
clearly enough the view which the great founders 
of the Rabbinical literature held concerning their 
own work. It gives the keynote of the whole of that 
literature; it indicates the foundation on which 
it was built, and the method which its builders one 

1 Torah, literally ' Teaching.' The usual translation 'Law ' is too narrow- 
in its meaning. Torah denotes the whole of what, according to Jewish belief, 
was divinely revealed to man. As the Pentateuch contained the record of 
that revelation, the Torah denotes the whole contents of the Pentateuch, 
whether narrative or precept ; and further, it includes not merely the written 
contents of the Pentateuch, but also the unwritten Tradition, the so-called 
Oral Law, which finally took shape in the Talmud. 

2 There is a gap between Antigonos and the first Pair, as is pointed out by 
Strack in his edition of the Pirqe Aboth, 1882, p. 9. The Pairs of teachers 
are technically known as Zugoth (niJIT). 


and all adopted. The foundation is the Decalogue, 
and the method is Tradition. 

The foundation is the Decalogue. More exactly, 
it is the famous declaration, Hear, O Israel, the 
Lord our God, the Lord is One ; and thou shalt love 
the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all 
thy soul, and with all thy might (Deut. vi. 4, 5), a 
declaration enshrined in the Jewish liturgy as the 
very soul of Judaism. 1 The Rabbinical literature is 
an attempt to furnish a complete answer to the ques- 
tion, " How shall a man love the Lord his God with all 
his heart and soul and might?" And even those 
Rabbinical writings which seem to have least reference 
to this main subject are dependent on it to this 
extent, that they would not have been written unless 
there had been in the minds of their authors the con- 
sciousness of this great fundamental principle. 

The links in the chain of development are easily dis- 
tinguished, according to the Rabbinical theory. Upon 
the Decalogue (of which the Shema' is the summary) 
rests the Pentateuch. The Ten Commandments 
were expanded into greater detail ; and the historical 
and legendary parts, as we should call them, were 
included, or rather were expressly written with the 
same object as the legal parts, viz., for instruction in 
the right conduct of life. Moses was regarded as the 
author of the whole, unless with the exception of the 
last eight verses of Deut. (b. B. Bathr. 14 b ). 2 

Upon the Pentateuch rested the whole of the 

1 It is known as the Shema\ from its first word in Hebrew. The Shema', 
as recited, includes some other texts. 

2 See the Talmudic theory of the authorship of Scripture in Traditio 
Rabbinorum Veterrima de Librorum V. Test* 1 ordine atq. origine illustrata a 
Gustavo Arminio Marx. Theol. licentiato. Lipsise, 1884. 


other scriptures, according to the Rabbinical theory. 
That is to say, they were to be interpreted in confor- 
mity with the Pentateuch, or rather with the Torah, 
or Teaching, of which the Pentateuch was the written 
expression. The Rabbis held that the Torah, or 
teaching, which Moses was commissioned to give to 
Israel, was partly written and partly oral. It is the 
written Torah which is found in the Pentateuch, and 
developed in the other scriptures. The oral Teaching 
was said to have been handed down, from one genera- 
tion to another, as the key to the interpretation of the 
written Teaching. That the Pentateuch was regarded 
as the standard to which the other scriptures must 
conform is shown by the well-known discussion as to 
whether the books of Ezekiel and Ecclesiastes were 
to be included in the Canon. The reason alleged 
against them was that they contradicted the Torah ; 
and it was only after this contradiction had been 
explained away that they were recognised as canonical 
(b. Shabb. 13 b , 30 b ). What may be the value of this 
statement for the critical history of the O.T. Canon 
is a question which does not arise here. 

The Rabbinical theory thus regarded the O.T. 
scriptures as a body of instructions based upon the 
Torah of Moses ; and when it is said, in the passage 
above referred to, that the prophets delivered the 
Torah to the Men of the Great Synagogue, this 
probably means that the Rabbis traced their own 
system to Ezra and Nehemiah, and thus could regard 
it as the continuation of the Teaching handed down 
by the Prophets from Moses himself. It is certain 
that they did thus regard it, even to the extent of 
believing that the whole of the Oral Law was given 


to Moses, and by him handed down along with the 
written Torah. The question here again is not as to 
the historical facts of the development of the Rabbin- 
ism out of the O.T., but only of the view which the 
Rabbis themselves held of the connexion between 
them. And that view was, that after the time of the 
men of the Great Synagogue, those whose names are 
recorded as teachers taught by word of mouth the 
Torah as it was now written, together with such 
interpretation of it — not written, but handed down — 
as would serve to apply it to cases not distinctly 
provided for in the scriptures. It was, as always, the 
Torah of Moses that was taught and expounded ; and 
the object was, as always, to teach men how they 
ought to "Love the Lord their God with all their 
heart and soul and strength and might." Historically, 
we distinguish between the prophetical and the legal 
elements in the contents of the O.T. The Rabbis 
made no such distinction. In their religious instruc- 
tion they distinguished between * halachah ' (precept) 
and ' haggadah ' (edification), terms which will be more 
fully explained below. For the purposes of ' halachah ' 
they interpreted the whole of Scripture from the legal 
standpoint ; and, in like manner, for the purposes of 
'haggadah' they interpreted the whole of Scripture 
from the didactic standpoint, in neither case making 
any difference between the several books of the O.T., 
as legal, historical or prophetic. 

On the legal side, the task to which Rabbinism, 
from the days of Ezra to the closing of the Talmud, 
devoted itself with all its strength and ingenuity and 
patience, was to develop a set of rules for the right 
conduct of life, a code of laws, wherein the original 


teaching of Moses should be applied to every con- 
ceivable event, act and duty of daily life. Histori- 
cally, the founder of Jewish Legalism was Ezra, to 
whose mind was ever present the supreme necessity of 
guarding the national religion from those corruptions 
and laxities which had brought about the exile, and 
who saw no better protection against the recurrence of 
such a danger than an authoritative code, which should 
state — either in speech or writing — the divine com- 
mands which the Jewish people were to obey. If by 
the " Men of the Great Synagogue " we are to under- 
stand Ezra and those who worked on his lines, with 
him and after him, then we can understand the saying 
ascribed to that ancient assembly, " Make a hedge for 
the Torah" (Aboth, i. 1). The Torah is the divine 
teaching given to Moses and handed down by him ; 
and the hedge is the Legalism, the outward form of 
law and precept, in which henceforth it was to be pre- 
served. The Talmud indicates its view of the work 
of Ezra, and also of the connexion between his work 
and that of the Rabbis by saying (b. Succ. 27 a ) : " In 
the beginning, when the Torah was forgotten, Ezra 
went up from Babylon and founded it; again it 
was forgotten and Hillel the Babylonian 1 went up 
and founded it; again it was forgotten and Babbi 
Hija and his sons went up and founded it." In other 

1 Hillel was no doubt the founder of Rabbinism in the stricter sense, for he 
introduced the exegetical rules on which the Kabbinical casuistry is founded. 
But Ezra is the true founder of that Legalism, of which Talmudic Rabbinism 
is the logical result. To compare Hillel with Jesus on the ground of their 
gentleness is to ignore the fact that Hillel did more than anyone else had 
done to organise that Tradition of the Elders which Jesus denounced. In 
their conception of the form of religion, Jesus and Hillel stood at opposite 
poles of thought. 


words, both the Legalism of Ezra, and the Rabbinism 
of which Hillel was the first representative, are the 
outward form of the Torah, the divine teaching given 
to Moses ; and in every detail, every minutest pre- 
cept which Rabbinical ingenuity developed, there is 
assumed as the ground of all the primal religious duty, 
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy 
heart and soul and might." 

Whether the form of definite precept and precise 
rule is the best adapted to promote the living of a 
righteous life is not here the question. Right or 
wrong, better or worse, it is the form which the 
Rabbis chose for the expression of their conception 
of the religious life. And the whole system of 
Rabbinism is misjudged, unless it be carefully and 
constantly borne in mind that it is all an expansion of 
the idea of human service of God, under the form of 
precept. What is usually called ( empty formalism,' 
1 solemn trifling ' and the like, deserves a nobler name ; 
for it is — -whether mistaken or not — an honest effort 
to apply the principle of service of God to the smallest 
details and acts of life. That, in practice, such a con- 
ception of religious life might lead to hypocrisy and 
formalism is undeniable, and the Talmud itself is 
perfectly well aware of the fact. But that it 
necessarily leads to hypocrisy, that it is impossible on 
such lines to develop a true religious life, the whole 
history of Judaism from the time of Hillel down- 
wards is the emphatic denial. The great Rabbis 
whose work is preserved in the Talmud were not 
hypocrites or mere formalists, but men who fully 
realised the religious meaning of what was expressed 
in the form of legal precept and apparently trivial 


regulation. They were under no mistake as to what 
it all meant ; and the heroism which has marked the 
Jewish people through all the tragic history of 
eighteen Christian centuries has found its divine in- 
spiration in the Torah as the Rabbis interpreted it. 
To them it was the word of God, in all its fulness 
and depth ; and no Jew who thoroughly entered into 
the spirit of the Rabbinical conception of religious 
life ever felt the Torah a burden, or himself bound 
as by galling fetters. Paul doubtless spoke out of 
the depths of his own experience ; but he does not 
represent the mind of the great leaders of Rabbinism. 
And the system of thought and practice which bears 
that name is unfairly judged if it is condemned on the 
witness of its most determined enemies. Judged on 
its own merits, and by the lives and words of its own 
exponents and defenders, it is a consistent and logical 
endeavour to work out a complete guide to the living 
of a perfect life, and whatever verdict may be passed 
upon that endeavour, the right word is not failure. 

The foundation, then, of Rabbinism is the precept, 
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy 
heart and all thy soul and all thy might. The 
method is tradition. This is indicated by the names 
which the Rabbis themselves gave to the mass of 
religious precept which they taught, viz., Massoreth 
(jtodd), and less frequently Qabbala. 1 The same fact 

1 Massoreth, or Massorah, from "1DD to hand over, deliver ; more fully, 
D^pTH 'D, vapd$o<Tis rwv irpeff&vTepav (Mark vii. 5). Qabbala, from ^3p to 
receive, cp. Mark, ib. 4, & ira.p4\a&ov Kparw, which they have received 
to hold. The term Massorah is also used in a special sense to designate the 
apparatus criticus devised by the Jewish Grammarians for the fixing of the 
text of Scripture. The term Qabbala likewise has a specialised meaning 
when used to denote the system of Theosophy or secret doctrine, set forth 
in the books ' Jetzirah ' and ' Zohar.' 


is shown by the formula to be found on every page 
of the Talmud, in which a precept is expressed, 
" Rabbi A. says, in the name of Rabbi B," or, " Rabbi 
A. says that Rabbi B. says that Rabbi C. says, etc." 
Some authority must confirm the dictum of every 
teacher, the authority, viz., of some previous teacher, 
or else the authority of the Torah interpreted accord- 
ing to some recognised rule. No teacher could base 
his teaching merely on his own authority; and the 
fact that Jesus did this, was no doubt one of the 
grievances against him on the part of the Jews. 
Ye have heard that it was said to them of old time 
. . . . but I say unto you, etc. (Matt. v. 21, 22), 
implies the disavowal of the Rabbinical method ; and 
the statement (Matt. vii. 28, 29) that Jesus taught 
them as one having authority and not as their scribes, 
was certainly cause sufficient that the people should 
be astonished at his teaching, and that the scribes 
should be incensed and alarmed. 

The question naturally arises here, How could new 
teaching find a place where, in theory, nothing was 
valid unless it had been handed down? That new 
teaching did find a place is evident, if only from the 
fact that the modest volume of the O.T. was ex- 
panded into the enormous bulk of the Talmud, to say 
nothing of the Midrash ; while, on the other hand, 
the principle of receiving only what rested on the 
authority of tradition was jealously upheld and 
resolutely enforced. For want of a clear understanding 
of the relation between the new and the old in 
Rabbinism, that system has been condemned as a 
rigid formalism, crushing with the dead weight of 
antiquity the living forces of the soul, and preventing 


all growth and expansion of thought. It is doubt- 
less true that the letter killeth but the spirit giveth 
life; but the truth of that great saying is not the 
condemnation of Rabbinism, any more than it is of 
Christianity j and it might have been spoken with no 
less right by Aqiba than by Paul, for the one, no less 
than the other, was an originator within the lines of 
his own form of religious thought. 

The answer to the question, ' How could new teach- 
ing find a place in a system based exclusively on 
tradition ' ? admits of a simple statement. The Torah 
as given to Moses, and by him handed down, was 
regarded as containing the whole of divine truth, not 
merely so much as might at any given time have 
been discerned, but all that in all future ages might 
be brought to light. This divine truth was partly 
explicit, partly implicit. That which was explicit 
was stated in Scripture, more particularly in the 
Mosaic laws, and also in that oral tradition which 
furnished the interpretation and application of the 
Scripture. That which was implicit was the further, 
as yet undiscovered, meaning contained in the Torah. 
And the whole task of Rabbinism was to render that 
explicit which had been implicit, to discover and un- 
fold more and more of the divine truth contained in 
the Torah, so as to make it available for the perfecting 
of the religious life. When, therefore, a Rabbi taught 
some new application of a religious precept, what 
was new was the application ; the precept was old. 1 
He was not adding to the Torah, but showing 

1 This is clearly stated in the Talmud (j. Hag. i. 8. 76 c ) : " Even that 
which an acute disciple shall teach in the presence of his Rabbi has already 
been said to Moses on Sinai." 


for the first time some hitherto unknown contents 
of it. The sum total of Torah was unaltered ; 
but part of it had been transformed from implicit 
to explicit. Thus a new teaching could not but 
rest upon Tradition, because it was merely the un- 
folding into greater clearness of meaning what the 
Torah had all along contained. And it was only 
new, in so far as such and such a Rabbi had been 
the first to declare that development of the original 
principle. Rabbinism never did, because it never 
could, reach the logical end of its own method ; but 
the complicated and minute legislation embodied in 
the Talmud, is, on the Rabbinical theory, merely the 
unfolding of what was contained in the original Torah 
— rendered explicit instead of implicit. Thus it 
appears that even in that department of the Rabbini- 
cal system where the principle of Tradition was most 
strictly maintained, there was ample room for the 
expansion and adaptation of the original principle to 
the varying needs of practical religious life. In other 
departments, perhaps rather the other chief depart- 
ment of the Rabbinical system, there was little or 
no attempt at restraint upon individual liberty of 
teaching. These two departments, or main divisions 
of Rabbinical teaching, are called respectively 
Halachah and Haggadah (or Agada, as it is often, 
though perhaps less correctly, given). 1 The distinc- 
tion between these two has often been explained ; 
but a few words upon them here may serve to bring 
out a fact which has not always been duly recognised. 
Halachah (from ~\bn to go) denotes that which is 

1 See an article by W. Bacher, " On the origin of the word Haggada 
(Agada)," in the Jewish Quarterly Review, 1892, p. 406 fol. 


recognised as a valid and therefore binding law of 
religious practice. The connexion between this, its 
undoubted meaning, and that of the root from which 
it is derived, is uncertain, and has been variously 
explained. The etymological question need not de- 
tain us here. Halachah is therefore that system of 
rule and precept to which the religious life of the Jew 
must conform. The several rules and precepts, indi- 
vidually, are called Hdlachoth (plural of Halachah). 
The Torah of Moses was, first and foremost, Hala- 
chah ; what it taught was, above all things, how a 
man should love the Lord his God with all his heart 
and soul and might ; in other words, how he should 
serve God most perfectly (see above, p. 7). The 
task of Rabbinism was to ascertain and determine 
Halachah, in its fullest extent, to discover the whole 
of what divine wisdom had decreed for the guidance 
of man. And it was in regard to Halachah that the 
principle of Tradition was most rigorously upheld, 
because it was above all things essential that Hala- 
chah, the law of right conduct binding on every 
Israelite, should be accurately defined and based 
upon ample authority. 

The other main division of Rabbinical teaching, 
known as Haggadah, differed from Halachah both in 
its object and its method. Haggadah denotes illus- 
trative teaching ; and it includes all that can help to 
build up religious character otherwise than by the 
discipline of positive command. It includes theo- 
logical speculation in its widest range, also ethical 
instruction and exhortation ; and its object is to 
throw all the light of past thought and experience 
upon the present duty. It is thus the necessary 


accompaniment of Halachah ; both have the same 
general purpose, viz., to teach a true service of God ; 
but the one proceeds by way of direct command, and 
rests upon divine authority, the other by way of 
exhortation and explanation, with no other authority 
than the wisdom and knowledge of the individual 
teacher. This is said without forgetting the fact that 
the great teachers of Haggadah were looked upon 
with the deepest reverence, and their teaching re- 
ceived with great deference. Moreover, the Hagga- 
dah was considered to be contained in the Scripture, 
and to be deducible thence by regular rules of infer- 
ence. But nevertheless it is true that the teaching 
and development of Haggadah was under no such 
strict restraint as was required for Halachah. And 
Haggadah served as the outlet for the creative ima- 
gination of the Rabbinical mind, which could find no 
scope in the severe logic of Halachah. The teacher 
of Haggadah gave free rein to his thought; his 
object was edification, and he made use of everything 
— history, legend, anecdote, fable, parable, speculation 
upon every subject from the most sublime to the 
most trivial — which might serve to teach some 
religious lesson, and thereby develop religious char- 
acter. The Haggadist made no scruple of altering 
not merely the narrative but the text of Scripture, 
for the sake of drawing out a religious or moral 
lesson ; and where Scripture was silent, the Hagga- 
dist freely invented incidents and traits of character 
in regard to Scripture personages, not stopping short 
of the Almighty Himself. Frequent appeal is made 
to the example of non-biblical Fathers in Israel, and 
it is to the Haggadah that we owe nearly all our 


information as to the personal character and life- 
history of the Rabbis. Anecdotes and historical 
reminiscences abound in the Haggadah, which is the 
chief reason why to non- Jewish readers the Haggadah 
is so much more interesting than the dry and difficult 
Halachah. It is hard for any one but a Jew to 
realise the direct personal concern, and therefore 
intense interest, of Halachic discussions ; while in 
the Haggadah, the human interest never fails, nor the 
charm — at least for those who have sufficient sym- 
pathy and insight to enter into a form of thought 
widely different from their own. 

Having thus briefly indicated what is meant by 
Halachah and Haggadah, and before going on to 
describe their mutual relation in the Rabbinical 
literature, I pause for a moment to draw a com- 
parison, or rather a contrast, between the develop- 
ment of Rabbinical and Christian thought. The 
contrast is certainly a sharp one, yet there is a con- 
siderable likeness. Both have a Tradition of the 
Elders, and rest a part of their teaching upon authority 
presumed to be divine. This has been already shown 
in regard to Rabbinism. In regard to Christianity 
the same fact appears in connexion with dogmatic 
theology. What is of faith is taught on the 
authority of creeds or decrees of councils, or the 
writings of the Church Fathers, or of Scripture as 
expounded by competent and accredited interpreters. 
The Roman Catholic Church definitely places Tra- 
dition among the sources of the teaching which 
she gives ; and if Protestantism repudiates Tradition 
to take her stand upon the Bible only, she never- 
theless admits the authority of ancient expositions 


of Scripture and definitions of faith. Both Rab- 
binism and historical Christianity alike recognise 
that to set forth the contents of the word of God 
is the supreme object of religious thought ; and 
they have jealously guarded the Torah, or the True 
Faith, from the interference of unauthorised ex- 
ponents. The verbal expression is different in the 
two cases, as the matter of thought is different ; but 
in both the liberty of individual opinion was con- 
fined within strict and definite limits, and to overstep 
those limits was in each case heresy. 

In like manner both Rabbinism and Christianity 
have a department of religious teaching where no 
restraint is put upon the freedom of the individual 
to hold and teach his own opinions, whatever they 
might be. In Rabbinism this is Haggadah ; in 
Christianity it is all that helps to the right conduct 
of life, moral teaching, encouragement to good works, 
and the like. There is in regard to these subjects 
nothing to prevent the Christian teacher from teach- 
ing out of his own heart and conscience whatever 
seems good and right. And while the great 
Christian teachers, in this department, are deeply 
reverenced, and their teaching received with the 
deference due to their wisdom and experience, there 
is no such authority attaching to their words as 
there is in the case of those who have helped to 
define the Faith. Their teaching is " not to establish 
any doctrine, but for example of life and instruction 
of manners," and no heresy is implied by divergence 
of opinion. 

While there is thus a considerable likeness be- 
tween Rabbinical Judaism and historical Chris- 


tianity, in regard to both principle and method, the 
contrast between them is the more striking from the 
fact that each system applies restriction to what the 
other leaves free, and each allows liberty where the 
other imposes restraint. Rabbinism prescribes what 
a man shall do, and defines his service of God in 
precise rules, while it leaves him perfectly unfettered 
in regard to what he shall believe. Such a thing 
as a doctrinal creed is foreign to Rabbinism— 
Maimonides notwithstanding. Historical Chris- 
tianity prescribes what a man shall believe, and 
defines the True Faith in precise creeds; while it 
leaves him perfectly unfettered in regard to what he 
should do— unfettered, that is, except by his own 
conscience. Christianity never set up a moral creed ; 
she did not make sin a heresy, but heresy a sin. 
To sum up this comparison in a single sentence, 
while historical Christianity is based on the con- 
ception of orthodox, Rabbinism rests on the con- 
ception of what I venture to call orthopraxy. The 
one insists on Faith, and gives liberty of Works ; the 
other insists on Works, and gives liberty of Faith. 

It would be interesting and instructive to pursue 
this line of thought still further, and endeavour to 
form an estimate of the comparative value of the 
two contrasted systems as theories of religious life. 
I refrain from doing so, however, as my purpose in 
making the comparison has been sufficiently attained 
if I have succeeded in explaining and illustrating the 
answer of Rabbinism to the two great questions 
of Duty and Belief. That answer is given in the 
Halachah and Haggadah respectively; and I go on 
to show how these two elements are combined and 


distinguished in the Rabbinical literature. For this 
purpose I will briefly refer to the chief representa- 
tive works of that literature. 

Pre-eminent among them all stands the Talmud ; 
and after what has been already said, it will not be 
difficult to explain the general nature of this colossal 
work. Bearing in mind that the main task of 
Rabbinism was to ascertain and define Halachah, it 
will be evident that in the course of years, and by 
the labours of many contemporary and successive 
Rabbis, a large number of decisions upon questions 
of Halachah gradually accumulated. Some of these, 
dating from far - off antiquity, were undisputed ; 
others were subjected to keen examination and 
scrutiny before being pronounced to be really 
Halachah. But, while many decisions were rejected, 
for want of a sufficient basis of authority, the 
number of those that were accepted increased with 
every generation of teachers. More than once, 
during the first two centuries of our era, attempts 
were made to codify and arrange the growing mass 
of Halachah, the confusion of which was increased 
by the fact that the whole was carried in the memory 
alone, not put down in writing. The work of codifi- 
cation, attempted by Aqiba and others, was finally 
completed by Rabbi Jehudah ha-Qadosh (the Holy), 
usually known as Rabbi par excellence; and the 
collection which he formed is known as the Mishnah. 
The date of its completion is usually given as 220 
a.d., or thereabouts. Mishnah denotes both 'teach- 
ing ' and ' repetition ' ; and the work so called pro- 
fessed to be the repetition, in enlarged form, of the 

Torah of Moses. The Mishnah is a collection of 



Halachoth — presumably of all the Halachoth whose 
validity was recognised so far as known to the 
compiler; and it deals with every department of 
practical conduct. Under six main divisions 
('Sgdarim,' or orders), and sixty -three treatises 
(' Massichtoth '), the duties of the faithful Israelite 
are set forth, as positive or negative commands. But 
the Mishnah contains Haggadah as well as Halachah. 
Along with the precepts, and the discussions in 
which they were defined, there are illustrative and 
explanatory notes, historical and personal remini- 
scences, designed to show the purpose or explain 
the meaning of some decision. These are Haggadah ; 
and they occur in the midst of Halachah, with not 
the slightest mark to distinguish the one from the 
other. The amount of Haggadah in the Mishnah, 
however, is not great compared with that of 
Halachah. And, in consequence, while the Mishnah 
is easier to read than the Gemara in point of 
language, it is far less interesting owing to the 
scantiness of the human element provided in the 

As above stated, the Mishnah was completed 
somewhere about the year 220 a.d. ; and though 
at first it only existed as oral teaching, it appears to 
have been very soon written down. From hence- 
forth it was the standard collection of Halachoth, 
though other collections existed of which mention 
will be presently made. As the standard collection 
of Halachoth, it naturally became in its turn 
the subject of study, since many of its precepts 
were of uncertain meaning. To mention only one 
reason for this, the destruction of the Temple, and 


the consequent cessation of all the ritual and cere- 
monial of worship, reduced the precepts connected 
therewith to a branch of archaeology; while on the 
other hand, it increased the need of defining with 
the utmost precision the right practice in those 
matters, so that it might not be forgotten if ever the 
time should come for the resumption of the Temple 
services. And, if some are inclined to think lightly 
of the time and thought spent upon questions which 
could have no practical outcome for those who de- 
bated them, there is still a pathetic and even a heroic 
aspect in the toil which preserved a sacred memory 
so that it might keep alive a no less sacred hope. 

The Mishnah, then, became in its turn the subject 
of commentary, interpretation and expansion. The 
name given to this superadded commentary is 
Gemara, which means 'completion.' But, whereas 
there is only one Mishnah, there are two Gemaras. 
The Mishnah was studied not only in the schools of 
Palestine, but also in those of Babylonia. And by 
the labours of these two groups of teachers there was 
developed a Palestinian Gemara and a Babylonian 
Gemara. In course of time the same need for 
codification of the growing mass of Tradition began 
to be felt in regard to the Gemaras which had 
previously led to the formation of the Mishnah. 
The Gemara of Palestine was ended, — not com- 
pleted, — towards the close of the fourth century; 
while it was not until the sixth century that the 
Gemara of Babylonia was reduced to the form in 
which we now have it. The name Talmud is given 
to the whole corpus of Mishnah plus Gemara; and 
thus it is usual to distinguish between the Palestinian 


Talmud (otherwise known as the Talmud of Jeru- 
salem) and the Babylonian Talmud. 1 

To give any account of the multifarious contents 
of either Talmud, even of that of Jerusalem, which 
is much shorter and simpler than that of Babylon, 
would be a work of great length and difficulty, al- 
most amounting indeed to a translation of the huge 
work with the commentaries upon it. Briefly, it 
consists (in both Talmuds) of a series of discussions 
upon the several Halachoth contained in the Mish- 
nah. In the course of these discussions, all manner 
of digressions interrupt the argument, — personal 
anecdotes, speculations upon points of theology or 
philosophy, fragments of history, scraps of science, 
folklore, travellers' tales — in short, anything and 
everything that could be supposed to have even the 
remotest connection with the subject under discussion 
are brought in, to the grievous perplexity of the 
reader. To add to the difficulty, this chaotic mass 
is printed in an unpointed text, with no stops except 
at the end of a paragraph, and no sort of mark to 
distinguish the various elements one from the other. 
And, finally, the language of the two Gemaras (based 

1 The Hebrew names are ' Talmud Jerushalmi,' and C T. Babli' re- 
spectively. I do not know why the former is called T. Jerushalmi; 
because, of the various schools in which it was developed, probably none, 
certainly none of any importance, had its seat in Jerusalem. It is usually 
understood that residence in Jerusalem was forbidden to Jews after the 
last war, in 135 a.d. Yet it is stated (b. Pes. 113 a ) that K. Johanan, one 
of the founders of the Palestinian Gemara, cited a tradition " in the name 
of the men of Jerusalem." On the whole, however, it seems to me most 
probable that the Palestinian Talmud was merely called after the name of 
the capital city, as indeed the T. Babli may be said to have been called after 
the name of the capital city of the land where the chief Rabbinical schools 
of the East nourished for centuries. 


upon eastern and western Aramaic respectively) is 
far more difficult than that of the Mishnah, being, 
as it is, concise to a degree that Thucydides might 
have envied, and Tacitus striven in vain to imitate. 
It is full of technical terms and foreign words, which 
are the despair of the reader who knows only his 
Hebrew Bible. Yet there is order and method even 
in the Talmud, and it is a great mistake to suppose 
that its contents may be treated as a series of un- 
connected sentences, whose meaning is clear apart 
from their context, and without reference to the 
deep underlying principles which give vitality to 
the whole. The passages which will presently be 
cited from the Talmud may serve as illustrations of 
what has been said, so far as mere translations, how- 
ever literal, can represent an original text so peculiar 
and so bizarre ; and, in presenting them apart from 
their context, I trust I have not been unmindful of 
the caution just given. 

The twofold Talmud is by far the most important 
work of the early Rabbinical literature. Yet there 
are others, dating from the same centuries, which 
can by no means be passed by unnoticed. It was 
stated above that the Mishnah was not the only 
collection of Halachoth, though it was adopted as 
the standard. To say nothing of the fact that the 
Gemaras contain many Halachoth not included in 
the Mishnah (hence called ' Baraitha,' i.e. external), 
there exists at least one independent collection of 
Halachoth, as a sort of rival to the Mishnah. This 
is known as Tosephta, a name which means ' addition ' 
or ■ supplement,' as if it had been intended merely to 
supply what was wanting in the standard work. Yet 


it is not improbable that the existing Mishnah and 
the existing Tosephta are only two out of many 
contemporary collections great or small, two com- 
pilations founded upon the works of many previous 
teachers, and that of these two, " one was taken and 
the other left." The two collections might almost 
have exchanged names, so that what is now known 
as the Mishnah might conceivably have come to be 
looked upon as Tosephta to the other. And, al- 
though the one enjoys a sort of canonical authority 
not recognised in the other, yet for historical pur- 
poses they are both of equal value, since both con- 
tain traditions dating from the earliest centuries of 
the common era. The contents of Tosephta are, 
as will* have appeared above, mainly Halachah ; but 
Haggadah also is found, as in the case of the Mish- 
nah, and in greater abundance. 

The works above described, viz., Mishnah, Gemaras, 
and Tosephta, have for their common purpose the 
development and definition of Halachah as the rule 
for the right conduct of life, the expansion into 
minute detail of the principle, Thou shalt love the 
Lord thy God with all thy heart and soul and 
strength. But the Rabbinical literature includes 
another very extensive class of works, in which the 
same principle is dealt with in a somewhat different 
manner. The generic name for works of this class is 
' Midrash,' i.e. exposition ; and the common character- 
istic of them all is that they are free commentaries 
upon books or portions of books of the O.T. 
Perhaps commentary is hardly the right word; for 
the Midrash does not profess to explain every point 
of difficulty in the text with which it deals, and, as 


a rule, it makes no reference to grammatical and 
linguistic questions. The purpose of the Midrash 
is to expound the Scriptures with a view to edifica- 
tion and instruction, from the standpoint not of the 
scholar but of the preacher. And probably the con- 
tents of the various Midrashim are collected extracts 
from the sermons, as we might call them, of the 
Rabbis to their hearers, either in the synagogues or 
the schools. The general plan of a Midrash is to 
take a book or selected passages of a book of 
the O.T., and to arrange under each separate 
verse in order the expositions of several Rabbis. 
The connexion between the text and the exposition 
is often very slight ; and, just as in the case of the 
Gemaras, digressions are frequent, as opportunity 
offers for bringing in some interesting but irrelevant 
topic. The method of Tradition is followed in the 
Midrash, though not with the same strictness as in 
the Talmud. Most of the expository notes are 
given in the name of some Rabbi, and of course the 
whole body of Midrash is now Tradition. But a 
good deal of the contents of many Midrashim is 
anonymous, and therefore presumably due to the 
compiler. In no instance in the Rabbinical litera- 
ture can we say that any individual Rabbi is the 
author of such and such a work ; at most he is the 
editor. But a nearer approach is made to individual 
authorship in the Midrash than in the Talmudic 

Midrash, then, is homiletic exposition of Scripture. 
And it will be seen from what has been said above, 
that the distinction between Halachah and Haggadah 
is applicable no less to the Midrash than to the 


Talmud. That is to say, there can be Midrash 
whose chief purpose is to connect Halachah with 
Scripture, and again Midrash which chiefly aims at 
connecting Haggadah with Scripture. Of these two 
classes, the Halachic Midrashim are the more 
ancient, the Haggadic by far the more numerous. 
Of the Halachic Midrashim, the chief works are 
Siphra, on the book of Leviticus; Siphri, on 
Numbers and Deuteronomy ; and Mechilta, upon 
parts of Exodus. These were compiled, according 
to Zunz, at a later date than the Mishnah, but 
contain in part older material. And while they do 
not exclude Haggadah, where the text suggests it, 
they are prevailingly Halachic, since a great part 
of the text dealt with is concerned with the cere- 
monial law. Siphra and Siphri are frequently made 
use of in the Talmud. 1 

The Haggadic Midrashim are very numerous, and 
the period of their production covers several cen- 
turies. Even the earliest of them is much later 
as regards date of compilation than the earliest 
Halachic Midrash. There is more need, on this 
account, of caution in using their statements as 
historical evidence. Yet, since those statements rest 
on tradition, and refer to many well-known names, 
there seems no reason why they should — other 
reasons apart — be denied all historical value. I have 
therefore made use of what the Midrash offered for 
my purpose, with, I trust, due critical caution. Of the 
Haggadic Midrashim, the most important in point 
of extent is the so-called Midrash Rabbah (or M. 
Rabboth), a collection of expositions upon the 

1 See Zunz, " Gottesd. Vortr. d. Juden," pp. 46-48. 


Pentateuch and the five Megilloth (i.e. Ruth, Esther, 
Lamentations, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes). 
The ten Midrashim are of very various date, and 
were not gathered into one great collection till as 
late as the thirteenth century. Other Midrashim, of 
similar character, are Tanhuma, or Jelam'denu, on 
the Pentateuch, Pesiqta on selected passages, and 
Jalqut Shim'oni on the whole of the O.T., 
being a vast collection of extracts from earlier 
Midrashim. For details concerning these and many 
similar works, I refer the reader to the books of 
Zunz, Hamburger, and others mentioned above. My 
object in this introduction is not to give a biblio- 
graphy of Rabbinical literature, but to indicate the 
general scope and method of that literature, so that 
the reader may have some idea of the sources whence 
the passages, which will presently be given, have 
been extracted. 

It will now be possible, as it is highly desirable, 
to attempt an answer to the question, What is 
the value, as historical evidence, of the Rabbinical 
literature? Can any reliance be placed upon state- 
ments found in works whose main purpose was not 
to impart exact knowledge of facts, but to give 
religious and moral teaching ? 

Nothing is easier than to pick out from the 
Talmud and the Midrash statements in regard to 
historical events, which are palpably and even 
monstrously false, and that, too, when the events 
referred to were not very far removed from the 
lifetime of the author of the statements. And the 
conclusion is ready to hand, that if, in regard to 
events almost within living memory, such error was 


possible, reliance cannot be placed upon statements 
concerning events more remote. Yet that hasty 
conclusion is refuted by the fact that the statements 
referring to historical events are sometimes confirmed 
by external testimony, such as the writings of non- 
Jewish historians, and sometimes, when not directly 
confirmed, are still in accordance with such external 
testimony. No one would dream of accepting as 
true all the historical statements of the Talmud and 
Midrash ; but they are certainly not all false. And 
it ought not to be, and I believe is not, beyond the 
power of a careful criticism, to distinguish with some 
degree of probability the historically true from the 
historically false. 

It must be borne in mind that the whole of the 
literature under consideration is a collection of 
Traditions. Now, while such a method of retaining 
and transmitting knowledge is exposed to the dangers 
of omission, addition, and alteration in a greater degree 
than is the case with written documents, yet on the 
other hand the fact that such a method was alone 
employed implies that the power of memory was 
cultivated and improved also in a greater degree 
than is usual with those who only or chiefly make 
use of writing. The Talmud and Midrash afford 
illustrations of both these propositions ; for while we 
find that varying forms are handed down of one and 
the same tradition, the difference in the form shows 
that the tradition was the subject of remembrance 
in several minds and over considerable periods of 
time. It must also be borne in mind that the 
Talmud is not "a dateless book," as it has been 
called, but that the main points in its chronology 


are well known, being determined by the biographical 
data of the leading Rabbis. The researches of 
W. Bacher 1 have shown beyond dispute that these 
biographical data are, on the whole, mutually con- 
sistent ; and thus we are provided with a firm 
foundation on which to rest a case for the credibility 
of the Rabbinical records. If the whole were a mere 
tissue of extravagant inventions, there would be no 
such consistency ; and further, it is often possible to 
mark where the historical tradition leaves off and 
the legendary invention begins. Thus, R. Jehoshua 
b. Levi is a perfectly well-known historical figure, 
and one whose name occurs numberless times in the 
Talmud and Midrash ; of him various facts are 
related which there is no reason to call in question, 
while in addition other stories are told — such as his 
conversation with the Angel of Death (b. Keth. 77 b ) 
— which are plainly imaginary. 

In judging, then, of the reliability, as historical 
evidence, of the Rabbinical records, we must take as 
our guide, in the first instance, the chronology of the 
lives of the Rabbis themselves, and note whether their 
statements refer to matters nearly or quite contem- 
porary. Thus, when Rabbi A. says that on a certain 
occasion he walked with Rabbi B. who told him 
so and so, or again, that when he was a boy he re- 
membered seeing Rabbi C. who did so and so, he is 
presumably speaking of things well within his know- 

1 " Agada der Tannaiten," " Ag. der Palestinensischen Amoraer," " Ag. d. 
Babylonischen Amoraer." Bacher is not the only scholar who has dealt 
with Rabbinical biography ; but so far as I know, his work is much more 
thorough and complete than any other on the same subject ; and I would 
here express my very great obligation for the help I have derived from the 
invaluable works I have named above. 


ledge. And though these incidental remarks may 
refer to things in themselves very trivial, yet they 
serve to extend the region of credibility. Indeed, it 
is perhaps in these incidental remarks that the largest 
harvest of historical fact is to be gathered. Because 
they are usually the illustration, drawn from the 
actual knowledge and experience of the teacher who 
mentions them, of the subject with which he is 
dealing. A Rabbi, especially one who was skilful 
in Haggadah, would permit himself any degree of 
exaggeration or invention even in regard to historical 
persons and events, if thereby he could produce a 
greater impression. Thus, an event so terribly well 
known as the great war, which ended with the death 
of Bar Cocheba and the capture of Bethar in 135 A.D., 
was magnified in the description of its horrors beyond 
all bounds of possibility. And probably no one was 
better aware of the exaggeration than the Rabbi who 
uttered it. 1 But then the purpose of that Rabbi 
would be, not to give his hearers an exact account of 
the great calamity, but to dwell on the horror of it, 
and to burn it in upon the minds of the people as a 
thing never to be forgotten. Yet there are many 
incidental remarks about the events of the war which 
are free from such exaggeration, and being in no way 
improbable in themselves, are such as might well 
have been known to the relater of them. The long 
passage b. Gitt. 57 a -58 a contains a variety of state- 
ments about the wars of Nero, Vespasian, and 
Hadrian ; it is reported to a considerable extent by 
R. Johanan, whose informant was R. Shim'on b. 

1 Cp. what is said below, p. 252, as to Eabbinical statements concerning 
the former population of Palestine. 


Johai, who himself took part in the last war. No 
one would dream of crediting the assertion that for 
seven years the vineyards in Palestine needed and 
received no other manure than the blood of those 
slain in the war. But the story that young Ishmael 
b. Elisha was carried captive to Rome, and discovered 
there and released, is in every way probable. Ishmael 
b. Elisha was the name of two very well-known 
Rabbis, one the grandson of the other, and the 
younger being the contemporary and rival of Aqiba. 
Nothing is more likely than that stories of the lives 
and adventures of these men should have been told 
amongst their friends and remembered in later times. 
Such stories must of course be judged on their own 
merits. But if they are in themselves reasonable and 
probable, there is nothing to discredit them in the 
mere fact that they are found in works like the 
Talmud and Midrash, embedded in a mass of 
Haggadic speculation. Neither Talmud nor Midrash 
were intended primarily to teach history; but from 
the manner of their origin and growth, they could 
hardly fail to show some traces of contemporary 
history. Therefore, in place of condemning as apo- 
cryphal all and sundry of the allusions to historical 
personages and events contained in the Talmud and 
Midrash, we may and ought to distinguish amongst 
them. And perhaps we may make some approach to 
a general canon of criticism on the subject, if we say 
that in the literature referred to, the obiter dicta are 
of most value as evidence of historical fact ; or, in 
other words, there is more reason to suspect exaggera- 
tion or invention in statements which appear to form 
part of the main line of the argument, than in those 


which appear to be merely illustrative notes, added 
to the text and embedded in it. The purpose of 
Haggadah (to which all these historical references 
belong) is homiletic ; it aims at building up religious 
and moral character by every means other than the 
discipline of positive precept (see above, p. 12). 
Reference to historical fact was only one, and by no 
means the most important, form of Haggadah. Since 
it is in Haggadah that the Rabbinical mind found the 
outlet for its instinct of speculative inquiry, and the 
play of its fancy and imagination, as already explained, 
it is natural to expect that these will be most promi- 
nent and most abundant in Haggadic passages because 
most in accordance with the genius of Haggadah. 
When, accordingly, we find in the midst of such 
fanciful and exaggerated passages occasional state- 
ments which appear to be plain, sober matter of fact, 
there is the more reason to accept the latter as being 
historically reliable (at least intended to be so), 
because the author (or narrator) might have increased 
their effect as illustrations by free invention, and has 
chosen not to do so. I say that such statements may 
be accepted as being at least intended to be histori- 
cally reliable. They must be judged on their merits, 
and where possible tested by such methods as would 
be applied to any other statements professedly 
historical. The narrator who gives them may have 
been wrongly informed, or may have incorrectly 
remembered ; but my point is that in such statements 
he intends to relate what he believes to be matter of 
fact, and not to indulge his imagination. 

I have made this attempt to work out a canon of 
criticism for the historical value of the Rabbinical 


literature, because such a canon seems to me to be 
greatly needed. So far as I am competent to judge, 
it appears to me that Jewish historians — as is only- 
natural — make a far more legitimate and intelligent 
use of the Rabbinical literature for historical purposes 
than is generally to be observed in the writings of 
Christian historians who have dealt with that litera- 
ture. Even in the works of Keim and Schurer, 
whose scholarship is above reproach, I do not remem- 
ber to have found any attempt to set forth the 
principles on which they make use of the Rabbinical 
literature for historical purposes. And it is perhaps 
not too much to say that in most Christian writings 
that touch upon the Rabbinical literature there is 
little or no appearance of any such principles ; some- 
times, indeed, there is a mere reproduction of state- 
ments from previous writers, which the borrower has 
not verified and not always understood. 

The principle which I have stated above will, of 
course, find its illustration in the treatment of the 
passages from the Rabbinical literature to be presently 
examined. That is to say, an attempt will be made 
to estimate the historical value of the statements 
contained in them. But it should be observed that 
for historical purposes they may be valuable in one 
or both of two ways. Whether or not they establish 
the fact that such and such an event took place, they 
at least establish the fact that such and such a belief 
was held in reference to the alleged event, or the 
person concerned in it. Thus we shall find that 
several instances are mentioned of miracles alleged 
to have been worked by Jews or Christians. The 
mere statement does not prove that these were actu- 


ally performed, any more than the mere state- 
ment of the N.T. writers proves that the alleged 
miracles of Jesus and the Apostles were actually 
performed. But in the one case or in the other, the 
record of alleged miracles, made in all good faith, is 
clear proof of the belief that such events did take 
place and had taken place. 

So also we shall find many instances of discussion 
upon topics chiefly scriptural, between Jewish Rabbis 
and certain persons called Minim. 1 Now the record 
of such discussions may be, in a given case, inaccurate ; 
but it is proof positive of the belief that such discus- 
sions had actually occurred, and indeed may be said 
to establish not merely the belief but the fact that 
they had occurred. Therefore, whatever may be the 
amount of actual historical fact established by the 
passages from the Rabbinical writings examined in 
the present work, they will at least have the value 
(and it is no slight one) that belongs to records of 
opinion and belief upon the subject for the illustration 
of which they have been chosen. 

To the consideration of those passages I will now 
proceed, having given what I trust may be a sufficient, 
as well as a reliable, explanation of their nature and 
origin. I merely premise one word as to the classifi- 
cation of them, and the method by which I shall deal 
with their contents. The subjects referred to in them 
are so various that an exhaustive classification would 
involve a great deal of repetition, since one passage 
might be appropriately placed under each of several 
heads. This might be avoided by arranging them 

1 The whole question of the interpretation of the word Minim will be 
dealt with hereafter. 


in the order of their occurrence in the Talmudic 
treatises and the several Midrashim. But such an 
arrangement would not afford the slightest help to 
the reader who wished to find what was said upon 
a given subject, e.g. the Christian scriptures. The 
same objection would apply to a chronological classi- 
fication, according to which the passages should be 
arranged under the dates of the several Rabbis 
responsible for them. 

I have thought it best to make a classification accord- 
ing to the main subject dealt with in each passage. I 
place first of all the passages referring to Jesus ; then, 
the much larger group of those relating to followers 
of Jesus. Each passage or series of passages will have 
its title, indicating the main subject to which it refers; 
and an index of all the titles will be found in the table 
of contents. Under each title will be given the trans- 
lation of one or more passages, bearing upon the 
particular topic, together with sufficient commentary 
to explain its meaning and its connexion with the 
main subject. The Hebrew and Aramaic texts, 
numbered consecutively to correspond with the trans- 
lated passages, will be collected in an appendix. 
Following upon the translations and commentaries, 
a concluding chapter will sum up the general results 
of the inquiry, under the two main heads of the 
Tradition concerning Jesus and the Tradition concern- 
ing the Minim. 





Birth and Parentage of Jesus 

(1) b. Shabbath 104 b . (The passage in [ ] occurs 
also b. Sanh. 67 a .) "He who cuts upon his 
flesh." It is tradition that Rabbi Eliezer said 
to the Wise, ' Did not Ben Stada bring spells 
from Egypt in a cut which was upon his 
flesh?' They said to him, 'He was a fool, 
and they do not bring a proof from a fool.' 
[Ben Stada is Ben Pandira. Rab Hisda said, 
'The husband was Stada, the paramour was 
Pandira.' The husband was Pappos ben 
Jehudah, the mother was Stada. The mother 
was Miriam the dresser of women's hair, as 
we say in Pumbeditha, ' Such a one has been 
false to her husband.'] 
Commentary} — The above passage occurs in a 

1 I would here express generally my indebtedness to the work of 
Heinrich Laible, " Jesus Christus im Talmud," Berlin, 1891. In the section 



discussion upon the words in the Mishnah which 
forbid all kinds of writing to be done on the Sabbath. 
Several kinds are specified, and among them the 
making of marks upon the flesh. The words at the 
beginning of the translation are the text, so to speak, 
of the Mishnah which is discussed in what follows. 
To illustrate the practice of marking or cutting the 
flesh, the compilers of the Gemara introduce a tradition 
(Baraitha, not included in the Mishnah, see above, p. 
21) according to which It. Eliezer asked the question, 
' Did not Ben Stada bring magical spells from Egypt 
in an incision upon his flesh ? ' His argument was 
that as Ben Stada had done this, the practice might be 
allowable. The answer was that Ben Stada was a 
fool, and his case proved nothing. Upon the mention 
however of Ben Stada, a note is added to explain who 
that person was, and it is for the sake of this note 
that the passage is quoted. First I will somewhat 
expand the translation, which I have made as bald and 
literal as I could. 1 

Ben Stada, says the Gemara, is the same as Ben 
Pandira. Was he then the son of two fathers ? No. 
Stada was the name of the husband (of his mother), 
Pandira the name of her paramour. This is the opinion 

of my work relating to Jesus I have made constant use of his book, and can 
hardly claim to have done more than rearrange his material and modify 
some of his conclusions. If it had not been my purpose to extend my own 
work over a wider field than that which he has so thoroughly explored, I 
should not have written at all. 

1 In all the translations which I shall give, I shall make no attempt to 
write elegant English ; I wish to keep as closely as possible to a word for 
word rendering, so that the reader who does not understand the original 
text may have some idea of what it is like, and what it really says. A 
flowing translation often becomes a mere paraphrase, and sometimes seriously 
misrepresents the original. 


of Rab Hisda,a Babylonian teacher of the third century 
(a.d. 217-309). But that cannot be true, says the 
Gemara, because the husband is known to have been 
called Pappus ben Jehudah. Stada must have been 
not the father but the mother. But how can that be, 
because the mother was called Miriam the dresser of 
women's hair? Miriam was her proper name, con- 
cludes the Gemara, and Stada a nickname, as people 
say in Pumbeditha S'tath da, she has gone aside, from 
her husband. 

The two names Ben Stada and Ben Pandira 
evidently refer to the same person, and that that 
person is Jesus is shown clearly by the fact that we 
sometimes meet with the full name 'Jeshu ben 
Pandira ' — thus T. Hull, ii. 23, " in the name of Jeshu 
ben Pandira " ; and also the fact that ' Jeshu ' is 
sometimes found as a variant of ' Ben Stada ' in parallel 
passages — thus b. Sanh. 43 a says, "On the eve of Pesah 
(Passover) they hung Jeshu," while in the same 
tractate, p. 67% it is said, "Thus did they to Ben 
Stada in Ltid, they hung him on the eve of Pesah. 
Ben Stada is Ben Pandira, etc." Then follows the 
same note of explanation as in the passage from 
Shabbath which we are studying. (See below, 
p. 79). 

There can be no reasonable doubt that the 
1 Jeshu ' who is variously called Ben Stada and Ben 
Pandira is the historical Jesus, the founder of 
Christianity. It is true that the name Jeshu'a, though 
not common, was the name of others beside Jesus of 
Nazareth ; and even in the New Testament (Col. iv. 
11) there is mention of one Jesus who is called 
Justus. It is also true that the Jewish com- 


mentators on the Talmud try to prove that another 
Jesus is referred to, who is described in various 
passages as having been contemporary with R. 
Jehoshua ben Perahjah, about a century B.C. These 
passages will be dealt with hereafter. 1 But when it 
is said, as in the passage referred to above (T. Hull, 
ii. 23), and elsewhere, that certain persons professed 
to be able to heal the sick in the name of " Jeshu ben 
Pandira," it is impossible to doubt that the reference 
is to Jesus of Nazareth. 

Various conjectures have been made in explana- 
tion of the epithets Ben Stada and Ben Pandira. In 
regard to the first, the explanation of the Gemara 
that Stada is a contraction of S'tath da is certainly 
not the original one, for it is given as a common 
phrase in use in Pumbeditha, a Babylonian town 
where there was a famous Rabbinical College. But 
the epithet Ben Stada in reference to Jesus was well 
known in Palestine, and that too at a much earlier 
date than the time of R. Hisda. This is shown by 
the remark of R. Eliezer, who lived at the end of the 
first century and on into the second. The derivation 
from S'tath da would be possible in Palestine no less 
than in Babylonia ; but it does not seem to have been 
suggested in the former country, and can indeed hardly 
be considered as anything more than a mere guess at 
the meaning of a word whose original significance was 
no longer known. 2 It is impossible to say whether 
Stada originally denoted the mother or the father of 
Jesus ; we can only be sure that it implied some con- 
tempt or mockery. I attach no value to the sug- 

1 See below, p. 54, No. 8. 

2 See below, p. 345, for a possible explanation of the name B. Stada. 


gestion 1 that Stada is made up of two Latin words, 
' Sta, da,' and denotes a Roman soldier, one of the 
traditions being that the real father of Jesus was a 

Of the term Ben Pandira also explanations have 
been suggested, which are far from being satisfactory. 
Pandira (also written Pandera, or Pantira, or Pantiri) 
may, as Strauss suggested (quoted by Hitzig in 
Hilgenfeld's Ztschft, as above), represent 7rev0ep6s 9 
meaning son-in-law ; but surely there is nothing dis- 
tinctive in such an epithet to account for its being 
specially applied to Jesus. The name Pandira may 
also represent irdvO-qp (less probably 7rav6t]pa 9 the final 
d being the Aramaic article, not the Greek feminine 
ending) ; but what reason there was for calling Jesus 
the son of the Panther is not clear to me. 2 Again, 
Pandira may represent wapOevcx;, and the obvious 
appropriateness of a name indicating the alleged birth 
of Jesus from a virgin might make us overlook the 
improbability that the form irapOevos should be 
hebraized into the form Pandira, when the Greek 
word could have been reproduced almost unchanged 
in a Hebrew form. It is not clear, moreover, why a 
Greek word should have been chosen as an epithet for 

1 Hitzig in Hilgenfeld's " Ztschft.," 1865, p. 344 fol. 

2 I know that the name TldvOrjp is mentioned in this connexion by 
Christian writers. Origen (ap. Epiphanius, Hser. 78, cited by Wagenseil) 

says, Ovros fiey yap 6 laxr^cp a.S(\<pbs Trapayiverai rod K\uira. ?jv 84 vibs rod 
Ia/cot>)8, iirlKKriv 5e Udvdyjp KaKov^iivov.<p6npoi ovtoi curb rov UduOvpos 4riK\t}V 

ytvvwvr ai. Origen doubtless knew that the Jews called Jesus 'Ben 
Pandira ' ; but, as he does not explain how Jacob, the father of Joseph, 
came to be called udvdijp, he does not throw any light on the meaning of the 
term as applied to Jesus. And as there is no trace of any such name in the 
genealogy given in the Gospels, it is at least possible that the name Ben 
Pandira suggested ndvdnp, instead of being suggested by it. 


Jesus. I cannot satisfy myself that any of the suggested 
explanations solve the problem ; and being unable to 
propose any other, I leave the two names Ben Stada 
and Ben Pandira as relics of ancient Jewish mockery 
against Jesus, the clue to whose meaning is now lost. 
Pappos ben Jehudah, whom the Gemara alleges 
to have been the husband of the mother of Jesus, 
is the name of a man who lived a century after 
Jesus, and who is said to have been so suspicious 
of his wife that he locked her into the house 
whenever he went out (b. Gitt. 90 a ). He was 
contemporary with, and a friend of, R. Aqiba ; and 
one of the two conflicting opinions concerning the 
epoch of Jesus places him also in the time of Aqiba. 
Probably this mistaken opinion, together with the 
tradition that Pappos ben Jehudah was jealous of his 
wife, account for the mixing up of his name with the 
story of the parentage of Jesus. 

The name Miriam (of which Mary is the equiva- 
lent) is the only one which tradition correctly pre- 
served. And the curious remark that she was a 
dresser of women's hair conceals another reminiscence 
of the Gospel story. For the words in the Talmud 
are 'Miriam m'gaddela nashaia.' The second word 
is plainly based upon the name ' Magdala ' ; and 
though, of course, Mary Magdalene was not the 
mother of Jesus, her name might easily be confused 
with that of the other Mary. 

The passage in the Gemara which we are examin- 
ing shows plainly enough that only a very dim and 
confused notion existed as to the parentage of Jesus 
in the time when the tradition was recorded. It 
rests, however, on some knowledge possessed at one 


time of the story related in the Gospels. That story 
undoubtedly lays itself open to the coarse interpreta- 
tion put upon it by Jewish enemies of Jesus, viz., 
that he was born out of wedlock. The Talmud 
knows that his mother was called Miriam, and knows 
also that Miriam (Mary) of Magdala had some con- 
nexion with the story of his life. Beyond that it 
knows nothing, not even the meaning of the names 
by which it refers to Jesus. The passage in the 
Talmud under examination cannot be earlier than the 
beginning of the fourth century, and is moreover a 
report of what was said in Babylonia, not Palestine. 

Mary the Mother of Jesus 

(2) b. Hag. 4 b . — When Rab Joseph came to this 
verse (Exod. xxiii. 17), he wept, There is that 
is destroyed without justice (Pro v. xiii. 23). He 
said, Is there any who has departed before his 
time ? None but this [told] of Rab Bibi bar 
Abaji. The Angel of Death was with him. 
The Angel said to his messenger, ' Go, bring 
me Miriam the dresser of women's hair.' He 
brought him Miriam the teacher of children. 
He [the Angel] said, ' I told thee Miriam the 
dresser of women's hair.' He said, ' If so, I 
will take this one back.' He said, 'Since 
thou hast brought this one, let her be among 
the number [of the dead].' 

(2a) Tosaphoth. — " The Angel of Death was with 
him: he related what had already happened, 
for this about Miriam the dresser of women's 
hair took place in [the time of] the second 


temple, for she was the mother of a certain 
person, as it is said in Shabbath, p. 104." 
Commentary, — This passage, like the preceding 
one, is centuries later than the time of Jesus. R. 
Bibi bar Abaji, as also R. Joseph, belonged to the 
end of the third and beginning of the fourth century, 
and both lived in Babylonia. R. Joseph was head of 
the college at Pumbeditha, in which office Abaji, the 
father of Bibi, succeeded him. As the story is told 
it involves a monstrous anachronism, which is noted 
by the authors of the Tosaphoth (mediaeval com- 
mentators on the Talmud). The compilers of the 
Gemara can scarcely have believed that Miriam, the 
dresser of women's hair, was still living in the time of 
R. Joseph and R. Bibi ; for, as the preceding passage 
shows, she was thought to have been the mother of 
Jesus. So far as I know, this is the only reference to 
the Miriam in question which brings down her life- 
time to so late a date ; and, if we do not accept the 
explanation of the Tosaphoth, that the Angel of 
Death told R. Bibi what had happened long ago, we 
may suppose that what is described is a dream of the 
Rabbi's. Of the Miriam who, according to the story, 
was cut off by death before her time, nothing what- 
ever is known. The passage merely shows that the 
name of Miriam, the dresser of women's hair, was 
known in the Babylonian schools at the end of the 
third and the beginning of the fourth century. The 
incident of the fate of the two Miriams is merely 
brought in to illustrate the text that some are cut 
off without justice. And this again forms part of a 
discussion on the duty of appearing three times in 
the year before the Lord. This passage adds nothing 


to our knowledge of the Rabbinical belief concerning 
the mother of Jesus ; it is only given because it refers 
to her, my object being, as already explained, to pre- 
sent as complete a series as I can of Rabbinical 
passages bearing upon Jesus and Christianity. 

There is, in j. Hag. 77 d , a reference to a certain 
Miriam the daughter of 'Eh, whom, on account of 
the name (cf. Luke iii. 23), one might be tempted to 
connect with the story of Jesus ; but there seems to 
be no suspicion on the part of the Talmud of any 
such connexion, and what is told about her does not 
seem to me to point in that direction. 

Jesus Alleged to be a 'Mamzer' 1 

(3) M. Jeb. iv. 13 [b. Gemara, Jeb. 49 b , same 

words ; j. Gemara does not mention the 

passage]. Rabbi Shim'on ben 'Azai said, • I 

have found a roll of pedigrees in Jerusalem, 

and therein is written A certain person spurius 

est ex adultera [natus] ; to confirm the words 

of Rabbi Jehoshua.' 

Commentary. — This passage is from the Mishnah, 

and therefore (see Introduction) belongs to the older 

stratum of the Talmud. R. Shim'on ben Azai was 

the contemporaiy and friend of Aqiba, about the end 

of the first and beginning of the second century. 

They were both disciples of R. Jehoshua ben 

Hananiah (b. Taan. 26 a ), of whom frequent mention 

will be made in these pages. R. Jehoshua, in his 

early life, had been a singer in the Temple (b. Erach. 

ll b ), and his teacher, R. Johanan ben Zaccai, was old 

1 "ITDD, of spurious birth. 


enough to have seen and remembered Jesus. 1 The 
Rabbis mentioned here were amongst the leading 
men of their time, and on that account must have 
been much concerned with the questions arising out 
of the growth of Christianity. R. Jehoshua is ex- 
pressly mentioned as having been one of the chief 
defenders of Israel against the Minim ; and, whatever 
may be the precise significance of that term, it will 
be shown subsequently that it includes Christians, 
though it may possibly include others also. R. 
Aqiba also is said to have been a particularly zealous 
opponent of the Christians. Indeed, according to 
one of the two conflicting opinions represented in the 
Talmud, Jesus was actually a contemporary of Aqiba, 
an anachronism which finds its best explanation in a 
pronounced hostility on the part of Aqiba towards 
the Christians. When, therefore, Shimon b. 'Azai 
reported that he had found a book of pedigrees, in 
which it was stated that ' a certain person ' (peloni) 
was of spurious birth, it is certainly probable that the 
reference is to Jesus. Unless some well-known man 
were intended, there would be no point in referring 
to him ; and unless there had been some strong 
reason for avoiding his name, the name would have 
been given in order to strengthen the argument 
founded upon the case. For it is said that Shim'on 
ben 'Azai made his statement 'in order to confirm 
the words of R. Jehoshua.' And R. Jehoshua had 
laid it down that a bastard is one who is condemned 

1 It has been suggested that the John mentioned in Acts iv. 6 is the 
same as Johanan ben Zaccai ; but there is no evidence for this identification 
except the similarity of name. Since the Kabbi was a Pharisee, it is not on 
the face of it probable that he should be "of the kindred of the High 


to a judicial death, 1 i.e. one born of a union which 
was prohibited under penalty of such a death. Now 
Jesus undoubtedly had been condemned (though not 
on account of his birth) to a judicial death, as the 
Talmud recognises (see passages given subsequently, 
pp. 80, 83) and Shimon ben 'Azai brings the evidence 
of the book which he had discovered, to show that in 
the case of a notorious person the penalty of a 
judicial death had followed upon unlawful birth. 

The alleged discovery of a book of pedigrees in 
Jerusalem may be historical ; for the Jews were not 
prohibited from entering Jerusalem until the revolt of 
Bar Cocheba had been suppressed by Hadrian, a.d. 
135, and ben 'Azai was dead before that time. What 
the book was cannot now be determined. The title, 
Book of Pedigrees, is quite general. It is worth 
noticing, however, that the present gospel of Matthew 
begins with the words, The book of the genealogy of 
Jesus Christ. It is just possible that the book to 
which ben 'Azai referred was this Gospel, or rather an 
Aramaic forerunner of it, or again it may have been 
a roll containing one or other of the two pedigrees 
recorded in Matthew and Luke. 

Covert Reference to Jesus 

(4) b. Joma. 66 d .— They asked It. Eliezer, 'What 
of a certain person as regards the world to 
come'? He said to them, 'Ye have only 
asked me concerning a certain person.' 'What 
of the shepherd saving the sheep from the 
lion ' ? He said to them, ' Ye have only asked 


me concerning the sheep/ 'What of saving 
the shepherd from the lion ' ? He said, * Ye 
have only asked me concerning the shepherd.' 
'What of a Mamzer, as to inheriting' ? 'What 
of his performing the levirate duty ' ? ' What 
of his founding his house ' ? ' What of his 
founding his sepulchre ' ? [They asked these 
questions] not because they differed on them, 
but because he never said anything which he 
had not heard from his teacher from of old. 
[See a somewhat similar series of questions, 
T. Jeb. iii. 3, 4.] 
Commentary. — This passage is full of obscurities. 
I record it here because of its reference to 'peloni, 9 ' a 
certain person,' the same phrase which occurred in 
the preceding extract. R. Eliezer was a very well- 
known teacher at the end of the first century ; and 
later on will be given a passage which describes how 
he was once arrested on a charge of heresy, presum- 
ably Christianity (see below, p. 137). The words 
translated are a Baraitha (see above, p. 21), i.e. they 
belong to a period contemporary with the Mishnah, 
though they are not included in it. Moreover the 
style of the language is that of the Mishnah, not that 
of the Gemara. Further, a set of questions addressed 
to the same R. Eliezer, and including some of those 
translated above, is found in the Tosephta (T. Jeb. iii. 
3, 4). Among the questions given in Tosephta are 
those about ' peloni,' and about the ' Mamzer.' It is 
evident that the authors neither of the Gemara nor of 
the Tosephta understood the full meaning of the 
questions. The explanation is that the questions 
were asked ' not because there was any difference of 


opinion, but because R. Eliezer never said anything 
which he had not heard from his teacher.' The same 
explanation is given in reference to another set of 
questions addressed to Eliezer (b. Succ. 27 b , 28 a ), and 
from the latter passage it appears to be Eliezer 's own 
declaration concerning himself. But it has no bear- 
ing on the questions and answers translated above, 
unless it be this, that as Eliezer was known to have 
had some connexion with Christianity, his questioners 
tried to get at his own opinion concerning Jesus, 
and that he fenced with the questions, not caring to 
answer directly, and perhaps not being able to answer 
on the authority of his teacher. The particular point 
of each question I am unable to explain ; but one 
can see an opportunity for allusion to Jesus in the 
questions as to the fate of * peloni ' in the future life, 
as to the * Mamzer' founding a house (i.e. a family), 
or a sepulchre, if it were known that Jesus was not 
married, and that he was buried in the grave of a 
stranger. I can throw no light upon the ' saving the 
sheep (or the shepherd) from the lion.' That this 
passage contains a covert reference to Jesus is the 
opinion of Levy, N.H.W., iv. 54% s.v. wbfc and also of 
Edersheim, L. &. T. of J. M., ii. 193, who ventures a 
comparison with John x. 11. Is it likely that the con- 
tents of that Gospel, supposing it to have been in 
existence at the time, would be known to Eliezer 
or his questioners ? 

The Ancestry of the Mother of Jesus 

(5) b. Sanh. 106 a . — It. Johanan said [concerning 
Balaam], * In the beginning a prophet, in the 
end a deceiver.' Rab Papa said, * This is that 


which they say, She was the descendant of 
princes and rulers, she played the harlot with 
Commentary. — It will be shown subsequently that 
Jesus is often referred to in the Talmud under the 
figure of Balaam, and the words just translated occur 
in the middle of a long passage about Balaam. No 
name is mentioned to indicate what woman is meant. 
But the context suggests that the mother of Jesus is 
intended ; and the suggestion is borne out by the 
statement that the woman mated with a carpenter. 1 
The passage, as it stands, is of a late date ; for It. 
Papa, who said the words, was head of the college at 
Sura from 354 to 374 a.d. Possibly it arose out of 
some imperfect acquaintance with the genealogies in 
the Gospels, these being regarded as giving the 
ancestry of Mary instead of that of Joseph. The 
mistake might naturally arise ; for if Joseph were not 
the father of Jesus, and if Jesus were alleged to be 
the son of David, or of royal descent, as the Talmud 
itself (b. Sanh. 43 a ) is by some thought to admit, 2 then 
evidently his royal ancestry must have been on his 
mother's side. 

Alleged Confession by the Mother of Jesus 

(6) b. Kallah. 51a. — Impudens : It. Eliezer dicit 
spurium esse, It. Jehoshua menstrua? filium, 
It. Aqiba et spurium et menstruse filium. 
Sedebant quondam seniores apud portam, 

1 The Munich MS. has in the margin "QJ instead of ^"QJ, i.e. the singular, 
not the plural. 

2 This at least is one interpretation of the expression ni3?&? 2)1p y see 
below, p. 89. 


prseterierunt duo pueri quorum unus caput 
operuit, alter revelavit. Dixit R. Eliezer, 
de illo qui caput revelaverat, * Spurius est • ; 
R. Jehoshua ' Menstrua? Alius ' ; R. Aqiba 
' Spurius, et menstrua? films.' Responderunt 
illi, 'Quomodo cor te inflat, ut verbis sociorum 
contradixeris ! ' Dixit eis 'Rem confirmabo.' 
Abiit ad matrem pueri, quam vidit in foro 
sedentem dum legumina vendebat. Dixit 
ei 'Filia mea, si mihi id de quo rogabo 
respondeas, in seculum futurum te ducam.' 
Respondit illi ' Jura mihi.' Juravit R. Aqiba 
ore, sed corde irritum fecit.' Dixit ei * Filius 
hie tuus, qualis est ? ' Respondit ' Quum 
thalamum introivi menstrua eram, et separavit 
a me conjux; paranymphus autem venit ad 
me, quapropter hie puer et spurius est et 
menstrua? filius.' Responderunt (Rabbini) 
'Magnus erat R. Aqiba, quum magistros 
suos refutaret.' Ilia hora dixerunt 'Benedictus 
Deus Israel, qui R. Aqiba? secretum suum 
revelavit ! ' 
Commentary. — I give the above passage with some 
hesitation, because I doubt whether it has anything 
to do with the legendary history of Jesus. There is 
nothing to point him out as the child in question, 
and the few details which the story contains do not 
agree with what we have gathered hitherto as the 
Rabbinical account of the parentage of Jesus. So 
far as I know, this passage stands by itself, without 
being mentioned or referred to in any other Talmudic 
tractate ; and the tractate Kallah, in which it is found, 
is of later origin than the main body of the Talmud. 


If, as is possible, it may have been suggested by the 
story in Luke ii. 41 fol., it can in no case be evidence 
for opinion concerning Jesus in those centuries with 
which we are concerned. And my chief reason for 
inserting it is that I do not wish to leave out any 
passage to which reference has been made as having 
a supposed bearing on the subject. At the same 
time, the fact that use has been made of the story in 
the book called the ToVdoth Jeshu (ed. Huldreich, 
p. 22, ed. Wagenseil, p. 12), shows that it was 
regarded as having reference to Jesus. In the work 
"J. C. im Talmud," p. 34 fol., Laible argues that 
the original author of the passage had no thought 
of Jesus in his mind. It is possible that the story is 
a free invention to explain the words of Shimon 
b. 'Azai (quoted above, p. 43), which refer to a 
• certain person ' as having been ' spurius et men- 
struae filius.' If so, Laible would be justified in 
saying that while the original author of the story 
had no thought of Jesus in his mind, nevertheless the 
real reference was to Jesus. 

Jesus and his Teacher 

(7) b. Sanh. 107 b .— Our Rabbis teach, Ever let 
the left hand repel and the right hand invite, 
not like Elisha who repulsed Gehazi with both 
hands, and not like R. Jehoshua ben Perahjah, 
who repulsed Jeshu (the Nazarene) with both 
hands. Gehazi, as it is written . . . .* 

1 The passage referring to Gehazi will be dealt with under another head, 
ie below, No. 27, p. 9V fol. 


What of R. Jehoshua ben Perahjah ? When 
Jannai the king killed our Rabbis, R. Jehoshua 
ben Perahjah [and Jesus] fled to Alexandria of 
Egypt. When there was peace, Shim'on ben 
Shetah sent to him, "From me [Jerusalem] 
the city of holiness, to thee Alexandria of 
Egypt [my sister]. My husband stays in thy 
midst and I sit forsaken." He came, and 
found himself at a certain inn ; they showed 
him great honour. He said, ' How beautiful 
is this Acsania ! ' x (Jesus) said to him, ■ Rabbi, 
she has narrow eyes.' He said, • Wretch, dost 
thou employ thyself thus ? ' He sent out four 
hundred trumpets and excommunicated him. 
He [i.e. Jesus] came before him many times 
and said to him, ■ Receive me.' But he would 
not notice him. One day he [i.e. R. Jeh.] was 
reciting the Shema', he [i.e. Jesus] came before 
him. He was minded to receive him, and 
made a sign to him. He [i.e. Jesus] thought 
that he repelled him. He went and hung up 
a tile and worshipped it. He [R. Jeh.] said to 
him, 'Return.' He replied, 'Thus I have re- 
ceived from thee, that every one who sins and 
causes the multitude to sin, they give him not 
the chance to repent.' And a teacher has 
said, ' Jesus the Nazarene practised magic and 
led astray and deceived Israel.' 
Commentary. — The above passage occurs in almost 
exactly the same words in b. Sotah. 47% and the 
incident of the escape to Alexandria and the letter 

1 fcWDDK denotes both inn and innkeeper. K. Jeh. uses it in the first 
sense ; the answering remark implies the second meaning, ' hostess.' 


from Jerusalem is mentioned in j. Hag. ii. 2 ; j. 
Sanh. vi. 9. 1 The passage j. Hag. ii. 2 gives a very- 
brief account of the dissension between the Rabbi 
and " one of his disciples," but does not give the name 
of the latter. This is probably the basis of what was 
afterwards expanded in the Babylonian Gemara. 

The passage before us is the locus classicus for the 
second Talmudic theory as to the time when Jesus 
lived. ( Jannai the king ' is Alexander Jannseus, who 
reigned from 104 to 78 B.C., thus a full century before 
Jesus lived. Shimon b. Shetah, the king's brother- 
in-law, and Jehoshua b. Perahjah (as also Jehudah 
b. Tabbai of the Palestinian version) were leading 
Pharisees of the time; and the massacre of the 
Rabbis, which led to the escape of one of them to 
Alexandria, is a historical event. The question is, 
how did the name of Jesus come to be introduced 
into a story referring to a time so long before his 
own? 2 Bearing in mind that the Rabbis had 

1 Where, however, the fugitive is not Jehoshua ben Perahjah but Jehudah 
ben Tabbai. 

2 The name of Jesus is found in this passage in the codices of Munich, 
Florence, and Carlsruhe, used by Rabbinowicz, also in all the older editions 
of the Talmud. In the edition of Basel, 1578-81, and in all later ones, the 
censor of the press has expunged it. See Rabbinowicz Variae Lectiones, Sanh. 
ad loc. Here is perhaps the best place to refer to the epithet ha-Notzri 
(H¥13n) as applied to Jesus. It is well known that the name of Nazareth 
does not occur in the Talmud, and indeed first appears in Jewish writings 
so late as the hymns of Qalir (a.d. 900 area), in the form Natzerath. This 
is probably the correct Hebrew form ; but there must have been another 
form, Notzerath, or Notzerah, to account for the adjective Notzri. Perhaps 
Notzerah was the local pronunciation in the dialect of Galilee, where the 
sound 6 or u frequently represents the a or a of new Hebrew ; thus, 
•■Dip for *Dpb K3TW for fTT* (Jordan), K^MID for lA*MO (Magdala). With 
this corresponds the fact that the Syriac gives Notzerath and Notzerojo 
for the name of the town and of its inhabitants. That from Notzerath or 
Notzerah could be formed an adjective Notzri is shown by the examples 


extremely vague ideas of the chronology of past 
times, we may perhaps find the origin of the story in 
its Babylonian form in a desire to explain the con- 
nexion of Jesus (Ben Stada, see above, No. 1), with 
Egypt. The connecting link may, perhaps, be found 
in the fact of a flight into Egypt to escape the anger 
of a king. This was known in regard to R. Jehoshua 
ben Perahjah, and the Gospel (Matt. ii. 13 fol.) records 
a similar event in regard to Jesus. The short Pales- 
tinian story in j. Hag. vi. 2 shows that there was 
a tradition that the Rabbi had excommunicated a 
rebellious disciple, whose name is not given. As 
the story now stands in the Babylonian version, 
there are several details in it which appear to have 
reference to Jesus, and which probably were due to 
some confused remembrance of tradition about him. 
In addition to the flight into Egypt, there is the fact 
that Jesus was known to have set himself against 
the authority of the Rabbis, and to have been the 
founder of a false religion. And the rebuke, " Dost 
thou thus employ thyself," i.e. with thinking whether 
a woman is beautiful, may be based on a gross distor- 
tion of the fact that the Gospel tradition gives a 
prominent place to women as followers of Jesus. 
Moreover the final answer of the banished disciple in 
the story, that ' one who sins and causes the multi- 
tude to sin is allowed no chance to repent,' points 

Timni from Timnah, Jehudi from Jehudah. The adjective Nafrpeuos (Acts 
xxviii. 22) would seem to imply an alternative form Natzara, the second a 
being replaced by o in the Galilean dialect, as in N5tzri for Natzri. The 
form Natzara indeed is adopted by Keim as the more correct ; but I do not 
see how to avoid recognising both Notzerah (Nazerah) and Natzara as 
equally legitimate, that is as representing variations in the pronunciation, 
not original difference in the formation of the name. 


clearly to the historical Jesus ; for the simple act of 
idolatry mentioned in the story cannot be called a 
* causing of the multitude to sin.' What the point 
may be of the statement that Jesus hung up a tile, 
a burnt brick, and worshipped it, I cannot explain. 

This passage is found in its full extent only in the 
Babylonian Gemara, and is probably of very late 
date. It is introduced as an illustration of the saying, 
" Let the left hand repel and the right hand invite." 
But there was already an illustration of that saying in 
the case of Elisha and Gehazi, and the whole passage 
is brought in, where it occurs in the tractate San- 
hedrin, as belonging to the subject of Gehazi. I sug- 
gest that the mention of R. Jehoshua and Jesus was 
an addition founded on the Palestinian tradition and 
prompted by the mention of Elisha and Gehazi ; and 
further that this addition was made in the schools of 
Babylonia, upon uncertain authority. It is not cited 
under the name of any Rabbi ; and the last sentence 
of it, which distinctly refers it to Jesus, only does so 
on the authority of ' a teacher/ whose name, presum- 
ably, was not known. The glaring anachronism, of 
making Jesus contemporary with R. Jehoshua b. 
Perahjah, is more easy to understand on this theory, 
than if we suppose the story to have originated in 
Palestine at a time nearer to that when Jesus actually 
lived. 1 

Jesus a Magician. (See also (1) above.) 

(8) T. Shabb. xi. 15. — * He that cuts marks on his 
flesh ' ; R. Eliezer condemns, the wise permit. 

1 As to the other anachronism, which makes Jesus contemporary with R. 
Aqiba, a century after his own time, see above, p. 40. 


He said to them, 'And did not Ben Stada 

learn only in this way ? ' They said to him, 

Because of one fool are we to destroy all 

discerning people ? ' 

Commentary. — The extract (1) above, and the 

parallel passage j. Shabb. 13 d , contain almost the same 

words. I repeat them here because of their reference 

to the character of Jesus as a magician. In the 

earlier quotation the main reference of the passage 

was to the parentage of Jesus. 

It has already been shown that Ben Stada denotes 
Jesus. (See above, p. 37 fol.) What is the meaning 
of the statement that he brought magical charms 
from Egypt concealed in an incision in his flesh ? I 
do not know of anything related about Jesus which 
could have given rise to the detail about the cutting 
of his flesh. The charge that he was a magician is 
no doubt based on the belief that he did many 
miracles, a belief which found ample support in the 
Gospel records. We shall see later on that miracles, 
whether done by Jews or Christians, were ascribed to 
magic, and were not on that account despised. Now 
Egypt was regarded as the especial home of magic, 
an opinion expressed in the Talmud, b. Qidd. 49 b : — 
" Ten measures of sorcery descended into the world, 
Egypt received nine, the rest of the world one." To 
say that Jesus learnt magic in Egypt is to say that 
he was a great magician, more powerful than others. 
And as we have seen in the preceding extract (7) 
there was a tradition that he had had something to 
do with Egypt. As to the manner in which he is 
alleged to have brought away with him Egyptian 
magic, a curious explanation is given by Rashi (b. 


Shabb. 104 b ) to the effect that the Egyptian magi- 
cians did not allow anyone to carry away magical 
charms from their country ; and therefore, since Jesus 
could not take them away in writing, he concealed 
them in the manner described, or perhaps tattooed 
magical signs on his flesh. Whether Rashi had any 
authority for his statement, or whether he only 
devised it to explain the passage before him, I do 
not know. The date of the passage under considera- 
tion is to some extent determined by the fact that it 
is taken from the Tosephta (see above, p. 21), a collec- 
tion which represents an earlier stratum of tradition 
than that embodied in the Gemara. The Eliezer who 
is mentioned is of course the same as the one men- 
tioned in (1) above, and we may take it that the 
reference there, p. 36, to a ' Baraitha,' is a reference to 
the present passage. The answer, that 'Ben Stada 
was a fool,' does not perhaps imply any censure on 
Jesus, but merely that any one would be foolish who 
should act as Ben Stada was said to have done. 1 

Jesus ' Burns His Food ' 

(9) b. Sanh. 103 a . — For Rab Hisda said that Rab 
Jeremiah bar Abba said, ' What is that which 
is written: There shall no evil befall thee, 
neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling 

[Ps. xci. 10] Another explanation: 

There shall no evil befall thee, [means], ' that 
evil dreams and evil thoughts may tempt thee 
not/ and neither shall any plague come nigh 

1 But see below, p. 345 n., for a possible alternative to the foregoing 


thy dwelling [means] 'that thou mayst not 

have a son or a disciple who burns his food in 

public like Jeshu the Nazarene.' 

[The concluding phrase is found in another 

connexion, b. Ber. 17 b , see below, p. 61.] 
Commentary. — This passage is Gemara, and the R. 
Hisda who cites the exposition of the Psalm is the 
same as the one mentioned in (1) above. He was a 
Babylonian, and lived a.d. 217-309. R. Jeremiah 
bar Abba, from whom he quoted, was his contem- 
porary, and apparently of much about the same age. 

The point of interest in the above extract is the 
phrase which I have translated literally, ' burns his 
food, like Jesus the Nazarene.' What did Jesus do 
that could be so described? It is clear that as 
applied to him, it must have a figurative meaning. 
It is sometimes, however, intended quite literally. 
Thus, b. Betz. 29 a : " The cook measures spices and 
puts them into his dish, that they may not burn 
[i.e. spoil] his food." This is evidently literal, except 
that in English we should not use the word ' burn ' 
in this connexion. The phrase occurs in the 
Mishnah, Gitt. ix. 10, and the question has often 
been discussed, whether there it is intended literally 
or figuratively. The words are, "The School of 
Shammai say that a man may not divorce his wife 
unless he find in her a matter of shame, for it is 
said [Deut. xxiv. 1], because he hath found in her a 
sJmmeful matter. The School of Hillel say [he may 
divorce her] even if she burn his food, for it is said, 
and R. Aqiba says, Even if he have found another 
[woman] more beautiful than she, for it is said, Ij 
she sJuxll not find favour in thine eyes'' This passage 


has often been cited as showing the laxity of the 
Rabbinical views on the question of divorce, especi- 
ally as held by the school of Hillel. And the charge 
has been met by maintaining that the phrase * burns 
his food' means, 'brings dishonour upon him,' 
'brings his name into disrepute.' Whether or not 
the phrase may have some such figurative meaning, 
there is good ground for taking it literally in this 
famous passage of the Mishnah. It has been well 
shown in a recent work, 1 by Amram, that Hillel 
and Aqiba, and the school in general who sided with 
them, were declaring not what was their ethical ideal, 
but what in their view the law permitted. They 
had to declare the law, not to make it ; and the 
reason why they did not — as they probably could 
have done — lay down an interpretation of the law 
more in accordance with their own ethical view, 
was that the ancient custom of Israel assumed the 
absolute liberty of a man to divorce his wife at his 
will, and without giving reasons for his action. The 
law could not attempt more than slightly to restrict 
that liberty, except at the cost of remaining a mere 
dead letter. Hillel, in this passage, declares that, 
as a matter of fact, the law, in his opinion, does allow 
a man to divorce his wife, even for such a trivial 
offence as burning his food. But Hillel and his 
school, did not, on that account, approve of such 
liberty of divorce. On the very same page of the 
Gemara, where this Mishnah is explained, b. Gitt. 
90 b , a Rabbi of the school of Hillel says, " He who 
divorces his first wife, the altar of God sheds tears 
thereat." To the above argument in favour of the 

1 The Jewish Law of Divorce. London, 1897, p. 33 fol. 


literal meaning of the phrase 'burns his food' in 
this disputed Mishnah, may be added that Rashi and 
other Jewish commentators interpret it quite literally, 
and give not the slightest hint of a figurative mean- 
ing. Also the fact that, whatever Hillel may have 
meant, Aqiba's dictum is evidently literal, 1 so that 
it is unlikely that Hillel's words were figurative. 

But while this is quite true, it is also true that the 
literal meaning of the phrase will not apply in all 
cases where it occurs. When it is said, as in the 
extract from b. Sanh. 103% under consideration, and 
also in b. Ber. 17 b , " that there may not be a son or 
a disciple who burns his food in public," something 
much more serious must be intended than a literal 
'burning of food.' The clue to this figurative 
meaning is given in the Talmud itself, b. Berach. 34 a . 
The Gemara in this place is commenting on the 
following words of the Mishnah : " He who says 
'The good shall bless thee,' lo, this is the way of 
heresy. He who goes before the Ark, if he makes 
a mistake, another shall go in his stead, and let there 
be no refusal at such a time." To 'go before the 
Ark ' is to stand at the lectern to recite the prayers 
in the Synagogue. And the Mishnah has just 
remarked that some liturgical phrases are signs of 
heresy in the reader. Therefore the Mishnah directs 
what is to be done when a reader makes a mistake. 
Another man is to take his place and there must be 
no refusal on the part of the second man. That is 
the Mishnah. The Gemara says : " Our Rabbis have 
taught ' He who goes before the Ark ought [at first] 

1 See Edersheim, " L. and T. of J. the M.," ii. 333 n 2 , where he success- 
fully proves the literalness of the phrase in Gitt. ix. 10. 


to refuse. He who does not refuse is like food 
without salt. He who refuses too much is like food 
of which the salt has burnt (or spoiled) it.' . The 
meaning of this is clear. One who refuses too much 
is open to the suspicion of heresy, and he is like food 
that is spoiled or burnt by too much salt. The point 
of the comparison may perhaps be that as too much 
salt spoils good food, so the disciple, by too much 
self-will and conceit in his own wisdom, spoils the 
sound teaching that is given to him, which would 
have been his mental food. 1 When, therefore, it is 
said "a son or disciple who burns his food," that 
means "one who is open to the suspicion of heresy." 
It has already been mentioned that the phrase, 
1 a son or disciple who burns his food ' occurs in two 
passages, b. Ber. 17 b , and b. Sanh. 103 a (translated 
above). In the former, the Gemara, in an exposition 
of Ps. cxliv. 14 : ' There is no breaking in and no 
going forth, and no outcry in the streets,' says : 
6 There is no breaking in,' that our company be not 
as the company of David from which Ahitophel went 
out, and ' there is no going forth ' that our company 
be not as the company of Saul, from which Doeg, 
the Edomite, went forth, and 'no outcry,' that our 
company be not as the company of Elisha from which 
Gehazi went out, and ' in our streets ' that there be 
not to us a son or disciple who burns his food in 
public like Jeshu the Nazarene. 2 Now we shall see, 

1 With this figurative meaning of 'salt/ denoting 'independence of 
mind,' may be compared Mark ix. 49, 50, " For every one shall be salted 
with fire. . . . Have salt in yourselves. . . ." 

2 The printed text does not mention 'Jeshu ha-Notzri.' The reading, 
however, is found in all the older editions and the MSS. See Kabbinowicz 
on the passage. Note that this exposition of the Psalm is said to have been 


hereafter, that Ahitophel, Doeg and Gehazi, are all, 
in the view of the Talmud, tainted with heresy 
(Minuth). These three, along with Balaam, the 
chief infidel, are said in the Mishnah, Sanh. x. 1, to 
have no part in the world to come. And the same 
Mishnah makes a similar declaration in regard to 
Jeroboam, Ahab and Manasseh. The passage in 
b. Ber. 17 b , as quoted in the Aruch (s.v. mp) reads 
thus, "burns his food in public, like Manasseh." 
And this has probably led the author of that work 
to explain the meaning of ' burns his food in public ' 
by ' sets up idols in public,' establishes false worships. 
But, as Rabbinowicz has shown, not "Manasseh," 
but " Jeshu ha-Notzri," is the original reading ; and 
this fact is conclusive against the explanation of the 
author of the Aruch. It is absurd to say of Jesus 
that he set up idols. I conclude, therefore, that in 
the passage before us the reference to Jesus is 
intended as an example of one who inclined to 
heresy. 1 

It is worthy of note that the Palestinian Gemara 
does not make the reference to Jesus, either in Ber. 
or Sanh., nor does it use the phrase 6 burns his food ' 

spoken by the disciples of R. Hisda (or, according to another tradition, 
K. Shemuel b. Nahmani), when they left the lecture room. This tends 
to confirm the connexion of the phrase under discussion with R. Hisda. 

1 Jost, " Gesch. d. Judentums u s. Sekten," i. p. 264 n., says, speaking of 
the literal interpretation of • burns his food,' " sie wird, aber, genugend 
widerlegt durch die in jener Zeit bekannte Bedeutung des Wortes, 
ib^nn nnp», b. Ber. 17 b , b. Sanh. 103% wo es geradezu in dem 
Sinne : den eigenen oder des Hauses guten Ruf preisgeben, angewendet 
wird,— wie schon Zipser, Orient 1850, s. 316 nachgewiesen hat." I do not 
know on what authority he says that the phrase was so understood at the 
time, in view of the quite different interpretation given by the Talmud 
itself in b. Ber. 34 a . 


in either passage. The same is true of the Tosephta, 
so far as I can observe. We may, perhaps, infer that 
the figurative use of the phrase originated in the 
Babylonian schools, where, as we have already seen 
(see above (1) (2) (7)), the Rabbis speculated a good 
deal about Jesus. Possibly R. Jeremiah bar Abba, 
who used the phrase in the passage we have been 
studying, was himself the author of the figurative 
application of it, and also of the explanation of its 
meaning, b. Ber. 34 a . He and R. Hisda were con- 
temporaries and friends, and the latter claimed (p. 37 
above) to know something about Jesus. To one or 
other of them the origin of the phrase as denoting 
a tendency to heresy may with great probability be 

The Claim of Jesus Denied 

(10) j. Taanith 65 b . — R. Abahu said: If a man say 

to thee * I am God,' he is a liar ; if [he says, ' I 

am] the son of man,' in the end people will 

laugh at him ; if [he says] ' I will go up to 

heaven,' he saith, but shall not perform it. 

Commentary, — So far as I know, this saying occurs 

only here. That it refers to Jesus there can be no 

possibility of doubt. R. Abahu, the speaker, was a 

very well-known Rabbi, who lived in Caesarea, at the 

end of the third and the beginning of the fourth 

century ; and we shall see hereafter that he had a 

great deal of intercourse, friendly and also polemical, 

with heretics, who, in some instances at all events, 

were certainly Christians. It is not necessary to 

assume an acquaintance with any of the Gospels to 

account for the phrases used by R. Abahu. The 


first and third do indeed suggest the Gospel of John, 
but it is enough to admit a general knowledge of 
what Christians alleged concerning Jesus from the 
Rabbi's own discussions with them. 

The saying is based upon Num. xxiii. 19 : God 
is not a man that he should lie, nor the son of man 
that he should repent. Hath he said and shall he 
not do it?, or hath he spoken and shall he not make 
it good? Various interpretations of these words, 
by Rabbis of Babylonia, are given, and then follows 
the sarcastic application of the text by Abahu. 

Although this saying is not quoted elsewhere, nor 
even referred to, so far as I know, yet it belongs to 
a somewhat extensive group of Haggadic passages, of 
which the common foundation is the story of Balaam, 
Num. xxii.-xxiv. It will be shown presently that in 
the Talmud Balaam is regarded as a type of Jesus. 
We thus have an additional reason, beside the 
internal evidence furnished by the words themselves, 
for regarding the saying of Abahu as an anti- 
Christian polemic. Here may be best introduced a 
passage in the Jalqut Shim'oni, in which is found an 
amplification of Abahu's words. I give it according 
to the Salonica edition, as it is expunged from the 
later ones. 

(11) Jalq. Shim. § 766.— R. El'azar ha-Qappar 
says, God gave strength to his [Balaam's] voice, so 
that it went from one end of the world to the other, 
because he looked forth and beheld the peoples that 
bow down to the sun and moon and stars and to 
wood and stone, and he looked forth and beheld that 
there was a man, son of a woman, who should rise up 
and seek to make himself God, and to cause the 


whole world to go astray. Therefore God gave 
power to his voice that all the peoples of the world 
might hear, and thus he spake, ' Give heed that ye 
go not astray after that man, for it is written 
(Num. xxiii. 19), God is not man that he should lie, 
and if he says that he is God he is a liar, and he will 
deceive and say that he departeth and cometh again 
in the end, he saith and he shall not perform. See 
what is written (Num. xxiv. 23) : And he took up 
his parable and said, Alas, who shall live when God 
doeth this. Balaam said, 'Alas, who shall live, of 
that nation which heareth that man who hath made 
himself God.' 

It. El'azar ha-Qappar, who is reported to have said 
all this, was earlier than Abahu, for he died about 
260 a.d. Bacher (Ag. d. Tann. ii. 506 n. 2 ) shows that 
only the first clause of the passage in Jalqut is to be 
ascribed to El'azar ha-Qappar, i.e. the statement that 
the voice of Balaam resounded from one end of the 
world to the other. All the rest is probably of much 
later date ; but it may very well have been suggested 
by Abahu's words. It will be observed that Balaam 
is not identified with Jesus, but is made to prophesy 
his coming. That, however, Jesus is referred to is 
even more evident than in the shorter saying of 
Abahu. It is curious that this later Haggadah is 
attached to the words not of Abahu but of El'azar 

Jesus and Balaam 

(12) M. Sanh. x. 2. — Three kings and four private 
men have no part in the world to come ; the 
three kings are Jeroboam, Ahab and Manasseh 


.... the four private men are Balaam, Doeg, 

Ahitophel and Gehazi. 
Commentary. — The famous chapter of the Mishnah 
from which these words are taken begins by saying 
that, ' All Israel have part in the world to come,' and 
then enumerates the exceptions. The three kings, 
Jeroboam, Ahab and Manasseh are all mentioned 
in the O.T. as having introduced idolatry, per- 
verted the true religion. And, as the four private 
men are named in close connexion with the kings, it 
is reasonable to infer that they were condemned for 
the same offence. This conclusion is strengthened 
by the fact that the preceding paragraph of the 
Mishnah in this chapter excepts from the privilege 
of the world to come, ' those who say the resurrection 
of the dead is not proved from the Torah, and that 
the Torah is not from heaven, also the Epicuros. 
R. Aqiba says, He who reads in external books, 
also he who whispers over a wound, and says, None 
of the diseases which I sent in Egypt will I lay upon 
thee, I the Lord am thy healer. Abba Shaul says, 
He that pronounces the Name according to its 
letters.' These are all, unless perhaps the last, aimed 
at heretics who can hardly be other than Christians. 
For it will be seen hereafter that the opinions and 
practices here condemned were the subject of dis- 
pute between Jews and heretics (Minim). Therefore 
we naturally expect that the four private men, who 
are singled out for exclusion from the world to come, 
are condemned on account not merely of heresy but 
of actively promoting heresy. Now this is not true 
in any especial sense of any one of the four. Balaam, 

certainly, according to the story in Num. xxii.-xxiv. 



did lead the people astray ; but so far as religion was 
concerned, he acknowledged and obeyed the God of 
Israel. Moreover, Balaam was not an Israelite, and 
therefore could not logically be included in a list of 
exceptions to a rule which only affected Israelites. 
It is evident that Balaam here does not mean the 
ancient prophet of Num. xxii. fol., but some one else 
for whom that ancient prophet could serve as a type. 
From the Jewish point of view there was considerable 
likeness between Balaam and Jesus. Both had led the 
people astray ; and if the former had tempted them 
to gross immorality, the latter, according to the Rabbis, 
had tempted them to gross apostasy — not unaccom- 
panied by immorality, as will appear from some of the 
passages relating to Christians. This was the great 
charge against Jesus, that " he practised magic and 
deceived and led astray Israel" (see above (7) last line). 
It should not be forgotten that even in the 
O.T., unfaithfulness in the covenant-relation be- 
tween Israel and God is symbolised under the form 
of unfaithfulness in marriage, so that Balaam, the 
chief corrupter of the morality of Israel, might 
naturally be taken as a type of Jesus, the chief 
corrupter of its religion. I am well aware that this 
does not amount to a proof that Balaam is a type of 
Jesus. But it establishes a probability, which is 
strengthened by the consideration that the animus 
displayed against Balaam in the Talmud would be 
very artificial if its object had been really the ancient 
prophet, while it is very natural and intelligible if it 
was really directed against Jesus, who had dealt a 
blow at the national religion such as it had never re- 
ceived. To show the violence of the hatred against 


Jesus, and also to strengthen the above contention 
that Balaam is a type of Jesus, I will give a passage 
in which they are mentioned together. By being 
mentioned together, it is true that Balaam is not in 
this case exactly a type of Jesus, i.e. we are not for 
6 Balaam ' to read ' Jesus ' ; but the symbol is ex- 
panded into a comparison, to suggest the conclusion, 
' What Balaam was, such also was Jesus/ The 
passage is as follows : — 

Jesus and Balaam in Hell 

(13) b. Gitt. 56 h , 57*.— Onqelos bar Qaloniqos, 
sister's son of Titus, desired to become a 
proselyte. He called up Titus by necromancy. 
He said to him, * Who is honoured in this 
world ? ' He replied, ■ Israel.' ■ What about 
joining them ? ' He replied, ' Their words are 
many and thou canst not fulfil them. Go, 
join thyself to them in this world and thou 
shalt become a leader, for it is written [Lam. 
i. 5], Her adversaries have become the head. 
Every oppressor of Israel is made a head.' 
He said to him, 'What is the punishment 
of this man ? ' [i.e. ' what is thy punishment ' ?] 
He replied, 'That which he determined for 
himself. Every day they collect his ashes and 
judge him, and burn him and scatter him over 
seven seas.' 

He called up Balaam by necromancy. He 
said to him, ' Who is honoured in this world ? ' 
He replied, ' Israel.' • What about joining 
them ? ' He replied [Deut. xxiii. 6], ' Thou 


shalt not seek their peace or their prosperity 
all [thy] days. 9 He said to him, ' What is 
the punishment of this man ? ' He replied, 
6 Per semen fervens.' 

He called up Jesus by necromancy. He 
said to him, ' Who is honoured in this world ? ' 
He replied, ' Israel.' ' What about joining 
them ? ' He replied, ' Seek their good, seek 
not their harm. Every one who injures them, 
[it is] as if he injured the apple of his eye.' 
He said, 'What is the punishment of this 
man?' He replied, ' By boiling filth.' For a 
teacher has said, 'Every one who mocks at the 
words of the wise is punished by boiling filth.' 
Come and see the difference between the 
sinners of Israel and the prophets of the 
peoples of the world who serve a false religion. 
Commentary. — This extract forms part of a long 
Midrash chiefly concerned with the war against Ves- 
pasian and Titus, and reported by It. Johanan (200-279 
a.d.). The story of Onqelos b. Qaloniqos, nephew 
of Titus, is introduced immediately after the descrip- 
tion of the death of the latter. Whether Onqelos 
the Proselyte, who is mentioned elsewhere in the 
Talmud, really was the nephew of Titus, I do not 
know, and the question is of no importance for the 
present purpose. The object of the gruesome story 
contained in this passage is to show the fate of the 
three chief enemies of Israel, i.e. Titus, Balaam and 
Jesus. Each suffers the punishment appropriate to 
the nature of his offence. 

The modern editions of the Talmud, which have 
been subjected to the censor of the press, do not 


mention the third criminal by name. They read 
that Onqelos called up ' the sinners of Israel ' 
(plural), which is obviously absurd. 1 The older 
editions have ' the sinner of Israel,' which is gram- 
matically correct, but the reading ' Jeshu ' is vouched 
for by the work that contains all the expurgated 
passages of the Talmud. 2 It is evident that some 
individual person is referred to, and that this person 
is not Balaam, since his case has just been disposed 
of. Moreover, it was some one who had 'mocked 
against the words of the wise,' i.e. the Rabbis. 
Internal evidence alone would suffice to show that 
Jesus was meant; and as there is authority for the 
reading 'Jeshu,' we may rest assured that he is 
the person referred to. 

The passage has been introduced here, as stated 
above, in order to establish the fact that in the 
Talmud, Balaam and Jesus are classed together, and 
that therefore Balaam serves frequently as a type of 
Jesus. I do not mean that wherever Balaam is 
mentioned Jesus is intended, or that everything said 
about the former is really meant for the latter. I 
mean that wherever Balaam is mentioned, there is a 
sort of under-current of reference to Jesus, and that 
much more is told of Balaam than would have been 
told if he and not Jesus had really been the person 
thought of. 3 I shall henceforth assume this close 

1 * The sinners of Israel ' may, however, be the right reading in the last 
line of the passage, because there the comparison is general between 'the 
sinners of Israel ' and • the prophets of the heathen.' 

2 I have used the one published at Konigsberg, 1860, nii<W> W\W\p 
D"K>n niillDH- The invaluable work of Eabbinowicz is unfortunately not 
available for the tractate Gittin. 

3 There is a suggestive remark in b. Sanh. 106 b (immediately after 


connexion in the Rabbinical mind between Jesus 
and Balaam ; and if it proves a guide to the mean- 
ing of other passages where Balaam is referred to, 
it will be to that extent confirmed and made more 
probable. These other passages will be mentioned 
presently. For the moment I return to the passage 
(12), quoted above, from M. Sanh. x. 2, where it is 
said that Balaam, Doeg, Ahitophel and Gehazi are 
shut out from the world to come. Having seen that 
Balaam here denotes Jesus, it is natural to enquire 
into the meaning of the other three names. That 
they merely denote the three persons mentioned 
in the Books of Samuel and Kings is not probable ; 
for there is nothing in the facts there recorded to 
show why just these three should have been so 
severely condemned. Following immediately after 
Balaam-Jesus, we can hardly avoid the conclusion 
that the three O.T. names denote three of the 
Apostles, as having shared in the work of heresy 
which Jesus began. Each of the three is elsewhere 
mentioned in the Talmud as being tainted with 
heresy, as will be shown hereafter (see below, pp. 99, 
192). Which of the Apostles are referred to, if this 
hypothesis be accepted, is a question of which the 
answer must remain uncertain. One thinks, naturally, 

the passage about the age of Balaam, to be given below) : — (14) Mar 
bar Rabina said to his son, * Do not multiply Midrash, in regard to all 
these except in regard to Balaam, the wicked ; whatever you find in him, 
expound of him.' * In regard to all these,' i.e. the four men, Balaam, Doeg, 
Ahitophel and Gehazi. Rashi, in his note on the passage, says that the 
multiplying of Midrash means doing so "'fcOJ 7, with malicious intention. The 
son of Mar bar Rabina, mentioned above, was the younger Rabina, contem- 
porary with and colleague of Ashi the redactor of the Babylonian Gemara 
Ashi, of course, was responsible for the inclusion in the Gemara of the 
anonymous passages concerning the excommunication of Jesus (see p. 51). 


of Peter, James and John. But it seems to me at 
least highly probable that Gehazi, at all events, means 
Paul. It would certainly be strange if the man who 
more than all elsq except Jesus ' troubled Israel ' 
(cf. Acts xxi. 27 fol.) should have been left out of 
this black list. A passage will be given presently 
where the story of Gehazi and Elisha is told in such 
a way as strongly to suggest Paul the renegade 
disciple of Gamaliel. (See below, No. (27), p. 97, b. 
Sotah. 47 a ). 

As for Doeg and Ahitophel, I do not know of any 
evidence for a particular identification. May not, 
however, Doeg the Edomite, who betrayed David 
(1 Sam. xxii. 9), possibly denote Judas Iscariot, the 
traitor? And the high honour in which Ahitophel 
was held (2 Sam. xvi. 23) suggests him as a type of 
Peter. These are only guesses, and as regards the 
proposed identification of Doeg with Judas Iscariot, 
I must allow that it would be more likely that the 
Talmud should exalt the betrayer of Jesus into a 
hero than condemn him to exclusion from the world 
to come. At the same time, I would submit that the 
three names which are most prominent in the list of 
the Apostles, the three figures which would be most 
likely to dwell in the memory as connected with 
Jesus, are Peter, Judas Iscariot, and Paul. And 
therefore, in spite of difficulties, I am inclined to 
hold that these three are denoted by Ahitophel, 
Doeg, and Gehazi, in the passage we have been 


The Age of Balaam (Jesus) 

(15) b. Sanh. 106 b . — A certain heretic said to R. 
Hanina, ' Have you ever heard how old 
Balaam was ? ' He replied, ' There is nothing 
written about it. But from what is written 
(Ps. lv. 23), Men of blood and deceit shall not 
live out half their days, he must have been 
thirty-three or thirty-four years old.' He [the 
heretic] said, • Thou hast answered me well. 
I have seen the chronicle of Balaam, and 
therein is written " Balaam, the lame, was 
thirty-three years old when Pinhas the Robber 
killed him." ' 
Commentary, — R. Hanina lived in Sepphoris at the 
end of the second and the beginning of the third 
century (died 232 a.d.). The story of this conver- 
sation with a heretic was reported in Babylonia prob- 
ably by Rab, who, like Hanina, was a disciple of 
Rabbi (Jehudah ha-Qadosh. See above, p. 17). The 
heretic — Min — was in all probability a Christian, as 
will be shown later when the passages dealing with 
the Minim come under review. And while there is 
no apparent reason why a Christian should inquire as 
to the age of the ancient Balaam, he might well have 
inquired — especially in Galilee — about the age of 
Jesus. It would seem, however, that he was not 
asking for information, but had a desire to find out 
whether R. Hanina knew anything about Jesus. 
For he confirmed the Rabbis answer by facts known 
to himself. The • Chronicle of Balaam ' probably de- 
notes a Gospel, though none of the known Gospels 


states in so many words that Jesus was as much as 
thirty-three years old. If, however, it was believed 
that his ministry lasted three years, and that he was 
■ about thirty years old ' when he began to preach, 
the statement of the Christian is sufficiently borne 
out, though not verbally correct. R. Hanina must 
have had fairly good grounds for his opinion as to 
the age of Jesus, or he would not have quoted a text 
which would only apply to the case of a man about 
thirty-three or thirty-four years old. 

It is curious that Balaam is here called ' the lame,' 
and that this epithet is mentioned, not by the Rabbi 
but by the Christian. It was, however, a Rabbinical 
opinion that Balaam was lame, and also blind of one 
eye. This is stated in the Gemara, b. Sanh. 105% in 
the same chapter from which is taken the extract at 
present under notice. This opinion about Balaam is 
taught by R. Johanan, on the strength of a fanciful 
interpretation of two texts — Num. xxiii. 3, xxiv. 15. 
It is quite possible that this is simply a fancy, without 
any reference to Jesus. But we may at least com- 
pare Mark. ix. 45, 46. 

There remains to be noticed Pinhas the Robber, or 
1 Pinhas Listaah,' who is said to have killed Balaam. 
It has been suggested by Perles (Gratz, Monatsch., 
1872, p. 267, quoted by Bacher) that, assuming 
Balaam to represent Jesus, Pinhas Listaah is a cor- 
ruption of Pontius Pilatus. 1 The corruption is, it 

1 Of. the story given below (p. 87), according to which a certain person, 
presumably Jesus, ■ took to robbery ' (listaia), and further, p. 95, where it is 
suggested that the allegation of robbery in reference to Jesus is due to a con- 
fusion of him with a certain robber chieftain Ben Netzer. It is worth 
noting that according to Matt. xxvi. 55, Jesus said, Are ye come out as 
against a robber (its ivl Ap<rrV) ; Apo-T^s is in the Talmud D^DD?, listis. 


must be admitted, a somewhat violent one, if the 
author who had written the one name was aware of 
the other. But he may have found a name to him 
unintelligible, and by the help of Num. xxxi. 8 
have transformed it into Pinhas Listaah. Talmudic 
tradition did not, so far as I am aware, know the 
name of Pontius Pilate, or ascribe the death of 
Jesus to a non-Jewish tribunal. But it is certainly 
strange that a Jew should call Pinhas [Phinehas] 
a robber, being, as he was, a highly honoured hero 
of tradition. Bacher seeks to show (Jew. Quart. 
Rev., iii. p. 356) that the reference is to the historical 
Phinehas and the historical Balaam, as against the 
theory of Perles. And if it were not for the word 
Listaah, I should agree with him. He explains its 
use in connexion with Pinhas by assuming that the 
heretic quoted from some apocryphal work about 
Balaam of an anti- Israelite tendency. But was 
there such a work? Was Balaam of any special 
interest to either Jews or heretics, except as a type 
of Jesus? With all deference to Bacher's great 
authority, I cannot help thinking that under this 
mention of Pinhas Listaah there lies concealed a 
reference to Pontius Pilatus. The difficulty that 
the heretic, if a Christian, would not call Jesus by 
the name of Balaam, may be met by the considera- 
tion that the whole conversation comes to us in a 
Jewish form. As for the historical value of the 
incident, there is nothing to make it impossible. 
Such conversations were frequent, and R. Hanina 
was a well-known man. That the story only occurs 
in the Babylonian Gemara is not surprising, since 
we have already seen that there was considerable 


interest taken in the Babylonian schools in the 
traditions about Jesus. The Palestinian Gemara 
contains much less than the Babylonian of such 
digressions from its proper subject. But that the 
story is a pure invention I see no reason whatever 
to believe. 

As it has already been suggested (see above, p. 71) 
that Doeg and Ahitophel represent two of the 
Apostles, perhaps Judas Iscariot and Peter, it is 
interesting to note that the text quoted above to 
determine the age of Balaam is also applied to these 
two. On the same page of b. Sanh. 106 b it is said 
by R. Johanan, 'Doeg and Ahitophel did not live 
out half their days. It is thus taught (Ps. lv. 23), 
Men of blood and deceit do not live out half their 
days. All the years of Doeg were but thirty-four, 
and of Ahitophel only thirty-three.' It is but fair, 
however, to admit that, as Doeg and Ahitophel had 
been mentioned together with Balaam in the Mishnah, 
the inference as to the age of the one might naturally 
be extended to the other, since it is only a haggadic 
deduction from a text of Scripture. 

Balaam (Jesus) and the Name of God 

(16) b. Sanh. 106 a . — And he [Balaam] took up his 

parable, and said, Alas, who shall live when 

God doeth this? It. Shim'on ben Laqish 

said: 'Woe unto him who maketh himself 

to live by the name of God.' 

Commentary. — The text quoted is Num. xxiv. 23, 

and the application of it by R. Shim'on b. Laqish 

is a mere distortion of the original words. What 


precisely is the meaning of bx WD is open to 
question, and is for the O.T. commentators to 
decide. But by no rules of grammar or syntax 
could the words be made to mean, 'Who maketh 
himself live by the name of God.' This is a haggadic 
variation of the text, such as the Rabbis often per- 
mitted themselves to make (see above, p. 13) for 
a homiletic purpose. And it is hard to see what 
purpose there could be, in the present example, other 
than that of making a covert allusion to Jesus, who 
had declared — according to the Gospels — that he 
should rise from the dead, of course by the power 
of God. The words do not apply to Balaam, at 
least there is nothing recorded about him that would 
give occasion for any such remark. Rashi, in his 
note on the passage, does indeed refer it to Balaam, 
but seems to be well aware that some one other than 
Balaam is really intended. He says, " Balaam, who 
restored himself to life by the name of God, made 
himself God." With this passage should be compared 
the saying of Abahu, (10) above, which is a somewhat 
similar haggadic variation of a text of Scripturei 

R. Shim'on ben Laqish, often called Resh Laqish, 
was the colleague and friend of R. Johanan already 
mentioned. He died somewhere about 279 a.d. 

The Chapter Concerning Balaam 

(17) b. B. Bathr. 14 b . — Moses wrote his book and 
the section [Parashah] about Balaam. 

Commentary. — The book which Moses wrote is, of 
course, the Pentateuch, with the exception of the 
last eight verses, which the Talmud attributes to 


Joshua. As the section about Balaam, Num. xxii.- 
xxiv., forms part of the Pentateuch, the question 
arises, Why was it necessary to state expressly that 
Moses wrote it? Rashi answers that Moses went 
out of his way to include the prophecies of Balaam, 
which did not properly belong to his own subject. 
Marx (Traditio Veterrima, p. 42) accepts this, and 
quotes a passage from the Jerusalem Talmud to show 
how much importance was attached to the Balaam 
section. As this passage seems to me to suggest 
more than Marx finds in it, I quote it here, adding 
some preceding words which did not come within 
the scope of his reference. 

(18) j. Ber. i. 8 (3 C ).— For Rab Mathnah and Rab 
Shemuel bar Nahman says, both say, It would 
be proper that the Ten Words should be read 
every day. And why are they not read? 
Because of the misrepresentation of the 
Minim, that they might not say, • These [i.e. 
the Ten Words] only were given to Moses 
on Sinai.' Rab Shemuel bar Nahman in the 
name of Rabbi Jehudah bar Zebuda says, 
'It would be proper that the Parashah of 
Balak and Balaam should be read every day. 
And why is it not read ? In order not to 
weary the congregation.' Rab Huna says, 
'Because there is written in it Lying down 
and rising up ' [Num. xxiii. 24]. Rabbi Jose 
bar Rabbi Bun says, ' Because there is written 
in it the going forth [out of Egypt], and 
the Kingdom' [Num. xxiii. 21, 22]. Rabbi 
El'azar says, 'Because it is written in the 
Torah, the Prophets and the Writings.' 


The first part of this passage will be mentioned in 
another connexion subsequently (p. 308) ; I quote it 
here because it refers to the Minim, heretics, whose 
false interpretation made it desirable not to introduce 
the Decalogue into the daily service. Coming im- 
mediately after this statement, may not the mention 
of the Parashah of Balak and Balaam, and its 
exclusion from the daily prayers, have also some 
reference to the misrepresentations of heretics? 
From the parallel passage, b. Ber. 12 b , it appears 
that the various reasons given by the Rabbis are 
reasons for the inclusion, not the exclusion, of the 
Parashah from the daily prayers. And the exclusion 
is justified on the ground that, the passage being 
very long, the recital of it would weary the con- 
gregation. The Babylonian Gemara distinctly says 
that it was proposed to include the Parashah, and 
that the proposal was not entertained. 

There is, I admit, hardly anything in this passage 
to connect it directly with anti-Christian polemic; 
but yet I think there is enough to show that a 
special interest attached to the Parashah of Balaam ; 
and we may, with a fair degree of probability, define 
that special interest by what we have already learnt 
as to the connexion between Balaam and Jesus. 

The Trial of Jesus 

(19) T. Sanh. x. 11. — In regard to all who are 
worthy of death according to the Torah, they 
do not use concealment against them, except 
in the case of the deceiver. How do they 


deal with him ? They put two disciples of 
the wise in the inner chamber, and he sits in 
the outer chamber, and they light the lamp 
so that they shall see him and hear his voice. 
And thus they did to Ben Stada in Lud ; 
two disciples of the wise were chosen for 
him, and they [brought him to the Beth Din] 
and stoned him. 

(20) j. Sanh. vii. 16 (25 c , d ).— The deceiver ; this 
denotes a private man. Not a Sage ? [i.e. a 
Rabbi]. No. From the time he deceives he 
is no longer a Sage. And from the time he 
is deceived he is no longer a Sage. How do 
they deal with him to work craftily against 
him? They conceal (in his case) two witnesses 
in the inner chamber and make him sit in 
the outer chamber, and they light a lamp 
over him that they may see him and may 
hear his voice. Thus did they to Ben Stada in 
Lud, and they concealed in his case two 
disciples of the wise, and they brought him 
to the Beth Din and stoned him. 

The Babylonian Gemara has the following 
version of this incident : — 

(21) b. Sanh. 67 a . — [The passage of which the ex- 
tract No. 1 above (the part enclosed in [ ] ), 
forms the conclusion.] 

For it is tradition that in regard to the 
rest of all who are worthy of death according 
to the Torah, they do not use concealment 
except in this case [i.e. of the deceiver]. How 
do they deal with him ? They light a lamp 
for him in the inner chamber and set witnesses 


in the outer chamber, so that they may see 
him and hear his voice, but he does not see 
them. And one says to him, " Say to me 
what thou saidst to me in private," and he 
says it to him. And another says to him, 
"How shall we forsake our God who is in 
heaven, and practise false worship?" If he 
repents, it is well. If he says, " Such is our 
duty and thus it becomes us to do," the 
witnesses, who hear from outside, bring him 
to the Beth Din and stone him. And thus 
they did to Ben Stada in Lud, and they 
hung him on the eve of Pesah. 
Commentary. — The legal procedure to be used in 
the case of a deceiver, who has tempted others to 
apostasy, is set forth in the Mishnah almost in the 
same words as in the first of the above extracts. 
These are from the Tosephta and the Gemaras, the 
passage (20) being contained in the Palestinian 
Gemara, while (21) is from the Babylonian Gemara. 
The Mishnah does not contain the reference to Ben 
Stada ; but it is important to notice that the Tosephta 
(19) does contain the name, and thus establishes the 
fact that the curious and exceptional legal procedure 
to be followed in the case of a deceiver was associ- 
ated with the case of Ben Stada (Jesus, see above (1)), 
at a time before the Tosephta was completed. This 
fact lends some support to the hypothesis of Laible, 
(J. C. im Talmud, p. 76), that the legal procedure 
referred to was really based upon the case of Jesus, 
as traditionally reported. In all the passages given 
above, it is stated that the concealment of witnesses, 
in order to trap the accused, is only practised in the 


one case of a man who has tempted others to apostasy, 
which was of course the charge against Jesus (see 
above, p. 51). However that may be, and I do not 
feel competent to pronounce opinion on the question 
of the origin of this law, the point that concerns us 
here is this, that as early as the time when the To- 
sephta was compiled, there was a tradition that the 
condemnation of Jesus had been obtained by the 
fraudulent means described above. Presumably the 
Tosephta (19) represents the oldest form of the tradi- 
tion now extant ; but there is no material difference 
between the three passages (19), (20), (21), so far as 
they refer to Ben Stada. They agree in saying, first, 
that two witnesses were hidden in a room adjoining 
the one where the accused sat ; second, that a lamp 
was lit over the accused, so that the witnesses could 
see as well as hear him ; third, that in the case of Ben 
Stada, the witnesses brought him to the Beth Din 1 
and stoned him ; fourth, that this took place in Lud 
(Lydda). (21) makes the important addition that 
" they hung him on the eve of Passover." As to the 
place of concealment, (19) and (20) say that the two 
witnesses were in the inner chamber and the accused 
in the outer, (21) reverses the position. It is not 
clear in regard to the cross-examination described in 
(21) whether the questioners are the two witnesses. 
If they are, the concealment would seem to be use- 
less ; if not, there is nothing to show who they are. 
The uncertainty on this point, which the compiler of 
the Gemara seems to feel, may be understood if there 

1 Beth Din, literally house of judgment, an assembly of Rabbis and their 
disciples sitting as a court of justice. The term does not denote any special 



really was no law on the subject except what could 
be recollected in connection with the trial of Jesus. 
As in the passages previously examined, we have 
here only scanty remnants of a tradition about that 
trial, combined perhaps with hearsay information 
derived from Christians. There is no ground, as 
Keim rightly says (Jesus of Nazara, vi. 47 n., E.T.), 
for correcting the Gospel account by the help of the 
Talmud. Rather it is the Gospel account which 
throws light upon the Talmudic tradition. From the 
Gospel story are derived the two witnesses (Matt. 
xxvi. 60. In Mark xiv. 56, 57, several witnesses are 
mentioned). The Gospel speaks of ' false ' witnesses, 
and this is perhaps the origin of the Talmudic asser- 
tion that the witnesses were concealed in order to 
entrap the accused. From the Talmudic point of 
view the witnesses were not false, in the sense of un- 
truthful, but were justified by their zeal for the true 
religion in acting deceitfully against a heretic. The 
mention of the outer and the inner chamber (of what 
building is not said) recalls Matt. xxvi. 69, where it 
is said that Peter was sitting without in the court, 
while the trial was going on within the house of 
the High Priest. The lighted lamp may have been 
suggested by the mention of the fire kindled in the 
outer court, Luke xxii. 55. And finally the state- 
ment that the witnesses carried the accused to the 
Beth Din may have its origin in the fact that there 
was, according to the Gospels, a second sitting of the 
council after the one at which the witnesses had been 
present (Mark xv. 1). The Talmudic tradition differs 
from the Gospel in saying that the trial took place at 
Lud (Lydda), and that Jesus was stoned. These 


statements, as well as the remark that Jesus was 
hung on the Eve of Passover, belong rather to the 
question of the execution of Jesus, which will form 
the subject of the next extract. They tend, however, 
to confirm what has already been pointed out, that 
the Talmud has preserved only a very vague and 
confused recollection of Jesus. His name was doubt- 
less held in abhorrence as that of a dangerous heretic 
and deceiver ; but extremely little was known of him, 
and that little is mentioned more by way of casual 
remark than as being of importance on its own 

The Execution of Jesus 

(22) b. Sanh. 43 a .— And it is tradition: On the 
eve of Pesah they hung Jeshu [the Nazarene]. 
And the crier went forth before him forty 
days (saying), '[Jeshu the Nazarene] goeth 
forth to be stoned, because he hath practised 
magic and deceived and led astray Israel. 
Any one who knoweth aught in his favour, 
let him come and declare concerning him.' 
And they found naught in his favour. And 
they hung him on the eve of Pesah. Ulla 
says, • Would it be supposed that [Jeshu the 
Nazarene] a revolutionary, had aught in his 
favour ? ' He was a deceiver, and the Merciful 
hath said (Deut. xiii. 8), Thou shalt not spare, 
neither shalt thou conceal him. But it was 
different with [Jeshu the Nazarene], for he 
was near to the kingdom. 


[The whole of this passage is expunged 

from the later editions. It is given here on 

the authority of the MSS. and early editions 

set forth by Rabbinowicz. The words in [ 

are from MSS.] 

Commentary. — To the statements contained in the 

foregoing passage must be added those given in Nos. 

(19), (20), (21), viz., that Jesus was stoned, and that 

his death took place in Lud (Lydda). It is remarkable 

that the fact of the crucifixion in Jerusalem should 

have been so completely forgotten, even by the 

compiler of the Tosephta, to say nothing of the 

compilers of the Gemara. This is the more curious 

because there are to be found in other passages, to be 

given presently, allusions to a crucifixion and to a 

death in Jerusalem, which are probably those of 

Jesus. The explanation of the statement that Jesus 

was put to death in Lydda is probably the following : 

After the destruction of Jerusalem, Lydda gradually 

became an important centre of Rabbinical activity. 

In the early years of the second century, Rabbis 

Eliezer, Tarphon and Aqiba held their colleges there, 

and Lydda quite outshone Jabneh, which had been 

the seat first of Johanan ben Zaccai, and then of the 

Patriarch Gamliel II. after the fall of Jerusalem. 

Aqiba took a very active part in the insurrection 

under Bar Cocheba (a.d. 132-135), and Lydda was 

probably the headquarters of the insurgents. The 

name " Martyrs of Lydda " (n£ win, b. B. Bathr. 10 b ), 

was applied to some of the distinguished Rabbis who 

were executed at the close of the insurrection. Now 

we have already learnt (see above, p. 44) that the 

Talmud regards Jesus as having been a contemporary 


of Aqiba ; and it is further to be observed that the 
Christians were persecuted by the adherents of Bar 
Cocheba, presumably for not acknowledging him as 
the Messiah. 1 Now it is quite certain that in the 
Talmud the insurrection of Bar Cocheba and its 
tragic end is remembered with much greater clear- 
ness than the fate of Jesus a century before. And 
the suggestion is that the more recent and important 
event has gathered to itself the tradition of the earlier 
period. Aqiba, the apostle of the insurrection, became 
thereby the persecutor of Christians ; the place where 
he was most active against them was Lydda, and thus 
a later tradition could naturally arise that Jesus was 
a contemporary of Aqiba, and had been executed in 
Aqiba's own city of Lydda. This is in the main 
Laible's explanation ; but I differ from him in holding 
that Aqiba's hostility towards the Christians was 
chiefly due to his own connexion with Bar Cocheba, 
and not so much to his hatred of Christians as such. 
No doubt he felt such a hatred, as did other Rabbis, 
e.g. Tarphon and Meir ; but I do not know of any 
special evidence of his hostility except on the ground 
that I have mentioned. 

The passage before us further states that Jesus was 
hung. With this must be combined the evidence of 
the passages, Nos. (19), (20), (21), that he was stoned. 
The connexion between the two statements is that 
Jesus was stoned, and his dead body then hung upon 
a cross. This is clear from the Mishnah, Sanh. vi. 

1 Justin Mart., Apol. i. C. 31, ical yap iv t$ vvv yeytvr\ix4vcp 'lou8at/c<p iro\4fi(p 
Bapx<»X € & as > & T ^ s 'lovSaiwv airo(rrd<rta)S opx 7 77* T1 ? s > Xpiariavohs fxSvovs (Is 
Tipaplas Seivds, §1 fi^j apvoivro 'Ir}(rovv rby Xpiffrbv ko\ f}\a<r<prnxo?ev, eKiKtvtv 


4. (23) ' All who are stoned are hung, according to 
Rabbi Eliezer. The Sages say None is hung except 
the blasphemer and he who practises a false worship.' * 
The corpse was hung to a cross or else to a single 
beam, of which one end rested on the ground, the 
other against a wall (same Mishnah). It is worth 
noting that the technical word for a cross (n^s) is not 
used here. The Gospels, of course, say nothing about 
a stoning of Jesus, and I suggest that the Talmudic 
tradition is an inference from the fact that he was 
known to have been hung. The inference would be 
further strengthened by the application of the text, 
Deut. xxi. 23, He that is hanged is accursed of God, 
a text which Paul had to disarm in reference to Jesus 
(Gal. iii. 13). The Talmud knows nothing of an 
execution of Jesus by the Romans, but makes it solely 
the act of the Jews. 

Here may be mentioned a passage which seems to 
show that there was a tradition that Jesus had been 

(24) T. Sanh. ix. 7. — Rabbi Meir used to say, 
What is the meaning of (Deut. xxi. 23), For 
a curse of God is he that is hung ? [It is like 
the case of] two brothers, twins, who resembled 
each other. One ruled over the whole world, 
the other took to robbery. After a time the 
one who took to robbery was caught, and they 
crucified him on a cross. And every one who 
passed to and fro said, ' It seems that the king 

1 Literally a worshipper of stars and planets. This is constantly used in 
the Rabbinical literature as a technical term for the adherent of a false 
religion, without any implication that the stars are the actual objects of 
worship. Idolater is not always an equivalent term ; but, with this explana- 
tion, it is the most convenient to use. 


is crucified.' Therefore it is said, A curse of 
God is he that is hung. 

Commentary. — R. Meir lived in the second cen- 
tury, and we shall see that he had some knowledge 
of the Gospels (see below, p. 163). It is hardly to be 
doubted that the above passage contains a reference 
to Jesus. ' One ruled over the whole world,' that is 
God. ' They resembled each other ' suggests He 
that hath seen me hath seen the Father. The men- 
tion of the cross (ni^v) obviously accords with the 
Gospel story. The scornful gibe of the passers-by 
suggests Matt, xxvii. 37 and 39, and esp. 42, 43. The 
curious remark that the second 'took to robbery' 
(listaia) I cannot explain, but it should be noted in 
connexion with what was said above (see p. 73), 
about Pinhas Listaah (Pontius Pilatus). It. Meir's 
interpretation of the text in Deut. is somewhat 
obscure ; so far as I understand it he seems to mean 
that the raillery of the bystanders was a cursing of 
♦God, because they said ' the King is hung,' which 
would be the case if Jesus were supposed to be 

To this passage may be appended another where 
there is also a reference to crucifixion. It is con- 
tained in the Midrash on Esther ix. 2, and is as 
follows : — Zeresh, the wife of Haman, is advising him 
how to kill Mordecai, so that he shall not be de- 
livered by miracle as so many had been, and she says, 
W9D anwan *ioy \o nn propa irfn mh* by rw sb% " Crucify 
him on a cross, for we do not find one out of his 
nation who has been delivered from it." The refer- 
ence seems to be to the fact that Jesus was not 
saved from the cross even though it was claimed 


for him that he was the Messiah ; cp. Matt, xxvii. 

To return now to the Gemara in Sanh., at the 
head of this section. It is stated there that Jesus 
was put to death on the eve of Passover ; the Florence 
codex adds that it was also the eve of Sabbath. This 
is probably dependent on the Gospel story, and it is 
interesting to note that it agrees more with the 
Gospel of John than with the Synoptics. From what 
we have already seen, however, of the vagueness and 
uncertainty of the Talmudic tradition concerning the 
death of Jesus, it is unwarrantable to use this as 
independent evidence. 

In like manner we may ascribe to a confused 
knowledge of Christian teaching the statement that 
a herald went forth, during forty days before the 
death of Jesus, calling upon all who could bear 
witness in his favour to come and do so. The herald 
is, of course, fictitious ; but the forty days may have 
been suggested by the forty days which are said to 
have elapsed between the crucifixion and the ascen- 
sion, i.e. before the final disappearance of Jesus. 
Laible suggests the forty days of fasting ending with 
Easter, and Dalman hints at the forty days' fast of 
Jesus in the wilderness (Matt. iv. 2). All that can 
be said with any safety is that the number forty may 
have its origin in the Gospel. 

The Gemara, having described the death of Jesus, 
adds a remark about the statement that a herald 
invited evidence in favour of Jesus, and found none. 
Ulla, a Palestinian Rabbi of the end of the third 
century, a disciple of R. Johanan, says, ' Would it 
be thought that anything could be said in favour 


of Jesus, a revolutionary ? He was a deceiver, and 
the Merciful hath said (observe the irony of appeal- 
ing to God as "the Merciful" in this case), Thou 
shalt not spare nor conceal such a one' But, says 
the compiler of the Gemara, or perhaps Ulla, who 
raised the question, ' It was different with Jesus, 
because he was near to the kingdom.' Is this a 
reference to the supposed Davidic descent of Jesus ? 
The suggestion is tempting; but I doubt whether 
it is warranted. The phrase " near to the kingdom " 
occurs elsewhere, and is applied to the family of the 
Patriarch Gamliel II., of whom it is said (b. B. Q. 
83 a ), that they were allowed to learn Greek because 
they were "near to the kingdom." The Patriarch 
was the official representative of the Jews, and since 
as such he must have had frequent intercourse with 
the government, the knowledge of Greek was 
necessary. Of course, Jesus stood in no such official 
relation to the government ; but the Gospels record 
a remarkable hesitation on the part of Pontius 
Pilate to put him to death, and such hesitation might 
well be explained by saying that Jesus must have 
had friends at court, or at least that there must 
have been political reasons for wishing to spare him. 
If this suggestion, which is made by Laible (J. C. 
im Talmud, p. 80), be thought somewhat far-fetched, 
as implying a greater knowledge of the Gospel story 
than is probable, it may be simplified by supposing 
that the phrase, " near to the kingdom," was an in- 
ference from the fact that Jesus frequently spoke of 
"the kingdom." In this case there would be no 
need to bring in Pontius Pilate, and in fact the 
Talmudic story of the execution of Jesus does not 


implicate the civil government at all. Laible appears 
to me to credit the Talmudic Rabbis with a much 
clearer memory of the life and death of Jesus than 
is warranted by the evidence. That they knew of 
the existence of the Gospel (or Gospels) is certain 
(see below, p. 163) ; and that they had some acquaint- 
ance with the contents of the Gospel is probable; 
but the frequent discussions between Jews and 
Christians, of which we shall meet with many ex- 
amples, lead me to think that the Rabbis gained 
most of their information about Jesus from such 
intercourse, and that the real tradition concerning 
him amounted to hardly more than the fact that he 
had been a deceiver of the people and had been put 
to death. 

The Disciples of Jesus 

(25) b. Sanh. 43 a . — Our Rabbis have taught, Jesus 
had five disciples — Matthai, Neqai, Netzer, 
Buni, and Thodah. They brought Matthai 
[before the judges]. He said, ' Must Matthai 
be killed? For it is written [Ps. xlii. 2]: 
Mathai [ = when] shall (I) come and appear 
before God' They said to him, 'Yes, 
Matthai must be killed, for it is written [Ps. 
xli. 5]: Mathai [ = when] shall (he) die and 
his name perish' They brought Neqai. He 
said to them, • Must Neqai be killed ? For 
it is written [Ex. xxiii. 7] : The Naqi [ «■ inno- 
cent] and the righteous thou shalt not slay. 9 
They said to him, ' Yes, Neqai must be killed, 
for it is written [Ps. x. 8] : In secret places 


doth he slay Naqi [ = the innocent].' They 
brought Netzer. He said, 'Must Netzer be 
killed ? For it is written [Isa. xi. 1] : Netzer 
[ = a branch] shall spring tip from his roots' 
They said to him, 'Yes, Netzer must be 
killed. For it is written [Isa. xiv. 19]: 
Thou art cast forth out of thy grave like an 
abominable Netzer [ = branch].' They brought 
Buni. He said to them, 'Must Buni be 
killed ? For it is written [Ex. iv. 22] : Bni 
[ = my son], my first born, Israel" They said 
to him, ' Yes, Buni must be killed. For it is 
written [Ex. iv. 23] : Behold, I slay Bincha 
[ = thy son] thy first born' They brought 
Thodah. He said to them, ' Must Thodah be 
killed ? For it is written [Ps. c. 1] : A Psalm 
for Thodah [ = thanksgiving].' They said to 
him, 'Yes, Thodah must be killed, for it is 
written [Ps. 1. 23] : Whoso sacrificeth Thodah 
[ = thanksgiving] honoureth me? 
Commentary. — This passage is the continuation 
of the preceding one, and I have only divided the 
two for convenience of separate treatment. It is 
probable that the passage already considered, No. 
(21), which in the editions of the Talmud is found 
on p. 67 a of Sanhedrin, also forms part of the 
same paragraph about Jesus. Thus it would con- 
tain, first, the description of the witnesses, then the 
execution, and lastly the account of the five disciples. 
If this is so, then it is clear why the place of exe- 
cution (Lydda) is not mentioned in the second and 
third passages (22), (25), since it has already been 
mentioned in (21). This is Laible's suggestion. The 


reason for their being divided in the Talmud would 
be that the division of subject required it, the 
account of the death of Jesus being introduced in a 
discussion about the stoning of certain criminals, 
and the description of the manner of concealing 
witnesses finding its proper place later in a discussion 
upon deceivers of the people. The passage which 
we have now to consider is merely a pendant to 
the account of the death of Jesus, describing with 
a certain ferocious humour the fate of five of his 
disciples. These are said to have been condemned 
to death ; and when they quoted Scripture texts as 
a plea for their lives, they were met with other 
texts demolishing their plea. That any tribunal of 
justice, or of arbitrary violence, ever conducted its 
business in such a manner, it is hard to believe ; and 
we can only regard this fencing with texts as a 
jeu (Tesprit, occasioned no doubt by some actual 
event. That event would naturally be an execution 
of Christian disciples, if such took place. The 
dialogue as given in the Talmud can certainly not 
be taken as historical ; but it may yet give some in- 
dication of the historical circumstances under which 
it was composed. Little or nothing can be learnt 
from the names of the five disciples ; only the first, 
Matthai, has any close resemblance to a name in the 
list of the twelve (Matt. x. 2-4). The last, Thodah, 
is not unlike Thaddseus ; but in Hebrew that name 
would be Thaddai, not Thodah. The others, Naqi, 
Netzer, and Buni, 1 have no parallels in the list of the 

1 It is, however, worthy of note that in b. Taan. 19 b , 20 a , is related a story 
of Naqdimon b. Qorion, a rich citizen of Jerusalem, and it is added in a 
note that his real name was not Naqdimon, but Bum. Now Naqdimon is 


Twelve ; indeed, it is doubtful whether they, and 
Thodah, were ever names of persons at all. At 
most they may have been nick-names, and they 
certainly raise the suspicion that they have been 
chosen for the sake of the texts. I suggest that the 
case stands thus : — five disciples of Jesus, i.e. five 
Christians, were on some occasion condemned to 
death, that their real names, if known, were not 
mentioned, that one of them was designated Matthai 
with reference to the name attached to the first 
Gospel, that the play upon his name suggested a 
similar device in the case of the others, and that for 
them other names were invented, each of which had 
some reference to Jesus, as regarded of course by 
Christians. Thus Naqi, the innocent, is obviously 
applicable to Jesus from the Christian point of view, 
and is as obviously satirical from that of the Rabbis, 
as already shown. Netzer, the branch, is the Hebrew 
word occurring in the two texts quoted from Isaiah, 
of which the former was interpreted Messianically, 
and would therefore be applied to Jesus. But 
perhaps more probably there is a reference to the 
name Notzri, the Nazarene, which we have already 
met with as an epithet of Jesus (for the derivation 
of the word Notzri, and its meaning, see above, 
p. 52 n.). Buni, as used in both the texts, is taken 
to mean 'my son,' a frequent designation of the 
Messiah, and therefore applicable by Christians to 
Jesus. For the name Thodah, 'praise,' I do not 
know any connexion with Jesus ; but it is possible 
that the apt retort of the second text, whoso sacri- 

equivalent to Nicodemus. There may, therefore, be an allusion to Nico- 
demus, who came to Jesus by night (John iii. 1). 


ficeth Thodak honoureth me, may have suggested the 
whole series, and thus that the name Thodah was a 
pure invention. 

It is natural to infer from the passage that all the 
five disciples were condemned on the same occasion, 
and this at once excludes the possibility that any 
of the original Twelve are referred to. At least no 
Christian tradition exists which specifies any five out 
of the Twelve as having met with such a fate. But 
the fact that the five were called disciples of Jesus 
only implies that they were Christians, not that they 
were contemporaries of Jesus. Therefore we may 
look for them, if necessary, at some later period. 
The fact that the prisoners quoted texts of Scripture, 
and were met with other texts, suggests that the trial 
took place before a Jewish and not a Roman tribunal. 
Not, of course, that such a thrust and parry of texts 
really took place anywhere, but that it would be 
impossible in a Roman court and only a witty 
travesty of what would be possible in a Jewish one. 
Laible (J. C. im Talm., p. 68 fol.) makes the very 
probable suggestion that the story refers to the 
persecution of Christians under Bar Cocheba, already 
mentioned. It is a fantastic account of some incident 
of that persecution. The reasons for taking this view 
are, that the story occurs in the same passage as that 
which describes the death of Jesus, and that we have 
found the key to the understanding of the statements 
there made about Jesus in the anti- Christian hatred 
of Bar Cocheba, and more especially of Aqiba, his 
chief supporter. So far as I know, there is no other 
period than this (132-135 a.d.) at which Christians 
were persecuted and even put to death by Jews. 


The Christians would, of course, be of Jewish 

Other persons who are described as disciples of 
Jesus will be mentioned subsequently. I do not 
mention them here, in the division dealing with 
Talmudic references to Jesus, because the passages 
where they are alluded to are more conveniently 
grouped together as referring to Minuth (heresy) and 
Minim (heretics), and will therefore be treated 
separately in another main division. 

I shall close this division, of which the main subject 
is Jesus, by a reference to the name Ben Netzer, which 
has been held by some to denote Jesus. 

Ben Netzer 

Levy (N. H. W., i. 240% s.v. p) says that the name 
Ben Netzer (to a) is probably an allusion to Jesus the 
Nazarene. Keim, (J. of N., ii. 15, Eng. Tr.) says 
that the Talmudists call Jesus, Ben Netzar. This is 
also the view of Edersheim (L. and T. J. M., i. 222). 
The authority for this appears to be Abarbanel, whose 
work nvwn wjns is quoted by Buxtorf (Lexicon 
Talmudicum, ed. Fischer, s.v. to ) as follows : Speak- 
ing of the " little horn " in Dan. vii. 8, he says (26), 
" See, yea see, how they interpret that other ' little 
horn ' to mean Ben Netzer, who is Jeshua ha-Notzri, 
and according to the context they join in the reference 
to him the wicked kingdom, which is Edom, for that 
was his nation." What reason Abarbanel had for 
making this identification I do not know ; but there 
is nothing in the passages where Ben Netzer is 


mentioned (b. Keth. 51 b , J. Terum. 46 b , Ber. r. sec. 76) 
to suggest Jesus. Ben Netzer is described as a sort 
of robber chieftain, " a robber amongst kings, a king 
amongst robbers," as the Talmud says. The correct 
explanation, as it seems beyond question, is that of 
Gratz (G. d. J., iv. 295, and n. 28), who shows that 
Ben Netzer is Odenathus, the founder of the shortlived 
kingdom of Palmyra, a.d. 260 circa. Jost (G. d. J., 
ii. 145 n. 4) says that this hypothesis is without 
evidence to support it ; and if it were not for a re- 
ference in the same context to Gratz' work, it would 
be hard to believe that Jost had read the long note 
(n. 28) in which Gratz presents the evidence. It 
appears to me clear that Gratz is right, and if so, 
there can be no question of an allusion to Jesus in the 
name Ben Netzer. Even Jost does not allege any 
such allusion, though he rejects the proposed identi- 
fication with Odenathus. 


This division will include a much larger number of 
passages than the one just completed, and the greater 
part of them will be concerned with those Minim 
whose identification is one of the problems of the 
Talmud. It will be necessary, for the sake of clear- 
ness, to sub-divide the material in this division, with 
the result, as I hope, of lessening the amount of com- 
mentary upon each passage. 


I place first of all what I believe to be a reference 
to the most distinguished disciple of Jesus, viz., Paul. 

Gehazi (Paul?) 

(27) b. Sotah. 47 a .— Our Rabbis have taught: 
Always let the left hand repel and the right 
hand invite. Not like Elisha, who repulsed 
Gehazi with both his hands, and not like 
Jehoshua ben Perahjah, who repulsed Jesus the 
Nazarene with both his hands. What about 
Elisha? It is written (2 Kings v. 23), And 
Naaman said, Be content, take two talents, and 

97 7 


it is written (ib. v. 26), and he said to him, 
1 Went not my heart [with thee] when the man 
turned from off his chariot to meet thee 2 . Is 
it a time to receive silver, and to receive raiment 
and olive gardens and vineyards and sheep and 
cattle and men-servants and maid-servants?' 
But had he indeed received all this? Silver 
and raiment was what he received. R. Jitzhaq 
said, ■ In that hour Elisha was occupied with 
[the law concerning] the eight [kinds of] 
creeping things (Lev. xi. 29, 30]. He said to 
him [Gehazi], ' Wretch, the time has come to 
receive the punishment [for having partaken] 
of the eight creeping things, and the leprosy of 
Naaman shall cleave to thee and to thy seed for 
ever' And there were four leprous men (2 
Kings vii. 3), R. Johanan said these were 
Gehazi and his three sons. And Elisha went 
to Damascus (ib. viii. 7). Why did he go to 
Damascus ? R. Johanan says that he went to 
turn Gehazi to repentance, and he did not 
repent. He said to him 'Repent,' and he 
answered, 'Thus have I received from thee, 
that everyone who has sinned and caused the 
multitude to sin, they give him not the chance 
to repent.' What did he do ? Some say he 
set up a loadstone according to the sin of 
Jeroboam and made it stand between heaven 
and earth. And some say he wrote the Name 
upon its mouth, and it used to say " I " and 
"Thou shalt not have." And some say he 
drove our Rabbis from before him, as it is 
written (2 Kings vi. 1), And the sons of the 


prophets said to Elisha, Behold the place where 

we sit is too strait for us, whereas up till that 

time it had not been too small. 

What of R. Jehoshua ben Perahjah ? [See 

the continuation (7) above, p. 50.] 
Commentary. — It must be borne in mind that this 
passage is continuous with that describing the excom- 
munication of Jesus by R. Jehoshua ben Perahjah, No. 
(7) above, p. 50. The whole passage occurs in b. Sotah 
47 a and b. Sanh. 107 b . The story of Jesus has been 
given according to the latter version, for the sake of 
being able to use the various readings of Rabbinowicz, 
which are not available for the treatise Sotah. The 
story about Gehazi is given according to the version 
in Sotah, because it is somewhat fuller, and omits 
nothing of importance that is found in the version in 

The connexion of a story about Jesus with a story 
about Gehazi suggests that there may be, under the 
figure of Gehazi, a covert reference to some person 
associated with Jesus. It will not be forgotten that 
Gehazi is one of the four men expressly excluded from 
the world to come, and that the other three are Balaam, 
Doeg and Ahitophel. We have already seen reason 
to believe that Balaam is a type of Jesus (see above, 
p. 64 fol.), and that Doeg and Ahitophel are else- 
where said to have been heretics (Minim), a term 
which in some cases certainly denotes Christians. It 
is natural, therefore, to look amongst the followers of 
Jesus for the man of whom Gehazi is the type. I 
suggest that the man referred to is Paul. In what 
is said about Gehazi, in the passage before us and 
elsewhere, there are several points of likeness to 


Paul ; and it would certainly be strange if the man 
who, more than any other except Jesus, was the foe 
of the traditional Judaism, and who, moreover, had 
been in his youth a strict Pharisee, should be passed 
over in silence by the defenders of that Judaism when 
they had occasion to refer to Christianity. 

In the passage before us, the subject under discus- 
sion is the duty of attending on or accompanying a 
man walking forth from a town ; and a chance 
mention of Elisha is made the excuse for introducing 
a long haggadah about him, of which our passage 
forms part. The story translated above is, of course, 
a haggadic enlargement of the story in 2 Kings v. 
of the dismissal and punishment of Gehazi for 
covetousness. The curious statement that Elisha 
was studying the law about the eight kinds of creep- 
ing things is only a fantastic explanation of the 
punishment of Gehazi. Elisha said, ' Is this a time 
to receive silver and raiment and olive-gardens.' etc., 
mentioning eight things. And the objection is made 
that Gehazi had not received all these, but only the 
first two. R. Jitzhaq explains this by saying that 
Elisha was studying the law about the eight creeping 
things forbidden for food. The connexion is not, 
however, simply the number eight. The punishment, 
according to this fanciful exposition, is inflicted upon 
Gehazi for having broken the law about eating the 
creeping things. The absurdity of this explanation 
is somewhat diminished when we remember that it 
was Paul more than anyone else who repudiated the 
Jewish laws of clean and unclean food. In reference 
to the real Gehazi the explanation has no point, but 
in reference to Paul it has a good deal. 


Significant also is the fact that Gehazi was a 
renegade disciple of a great master; and although 
this is, of course, found in the O.T. story, and is not 
a haggadic invention, it is none the less applicable 
to Paul, the disciple of Gamaliel. So, too, the 
fact that Gehazi went to Damascus (not stated, but 
implied in the statement that Elisha went thither 
to try and bring him to repentance) has its parallel 
in the fact that Paul went to Damascus, and was 
there as a Christian (Acts ix. 22). The answer of 
Gehazi to Elisha, that one who has sinned and caused 
the multitude to sin is allowed no chance to repent, 
has no meaning in reference to the real Gehazi, but 
harmonizes well with the case of Paul. It should be 
noticed that this answer is exactly the same as that 
which, in the companion story, Jesus makes to It. 
Jehoshua ben Perahjah. 1 

Further, the accounts of what happened afterwards 
to Gehazi deserve notice. ■ Some say that he set up 
a loadstone according to the sin of Jeroboam.' The 
sin of Jeroboam consisted in setting up the calves in 
Bethel and Dan ; and Rashi, in his comment on this 
passage, says that he did so by means of a loadstone 
which will lift metal from the earth. What may be 
the meaning of a loadstone in reference to Paul will 
be seen presently ; but he so far followed the example 
of Jeroboam as to establish centres of worship other 
than Jerusalem. ■ Some say that he wrote the Name 
upon its mouth, and it used to say " I " and " Thou 

1 The words of the answer are, however, a general Rabbinical maxim, not 
peculiar to this passage. The origin of the maxim is fonnd in 1 Kings xiv. 
16 ; and the Rabbinical aphorism occurs in T. Joma v. 11, b. Joma 87 a , 
Aboth. v. 18 (in connexion with * disciples of Balaam'). 


shalt not have." ' What is referred to here is again 
the loadstone, and it would seem that a statue is 
intended. The Name that he wrote, or carved, upon 
the mouth of the figure is the name of God, the 
Name which was forbidden to be pronounced. And 
the words which the figure uttered are the opening 
of the Ten Commandments. The meaning seems 
to be that Paul set up some figure representing a 
person whom he asserted to be equal with God. 
That images of Christ were to be seen in Christian 
churches in the time of Paul is not to be supposed ; 
but that they were well known to the Rabbis of the 
time to which our passage belongs, is certain. And 
considering how much the doctrine of the Deity of 
Christ owes to the teaching of Paul, it would not be 
unnatural for a Jew to charge him with setting up 
images of Christ to be worshipped as God. Pos- 
sibly the clue may be found in John xii. 32 : And 
I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto 

6 Some say that he drove our Rabbis from before 
him.' This is explained by Rashi to mean that the 
Rabbinical academies were crowded by the disciples 
whom Gehazi drove away. Whether there is here 
any reference to Paul I am not prepared to say. 

As to the date of this passage, nothing can be 
precisely determined. It is found only in the Baby- 
lonian Gemara, and no Rabbi is mentioned as an 
authority except for some small portions. R. Johanan 
belongs to the third century (d. 279 a.d.), and R. 
Jitzhaq was a younger contemporary. Both lived in 
Palestine. The passage about Gehazi is perhaps 
older than that about Jesus, as suggested above, 


p. 54, and served as the introduction to that story. 
But, on the other hand, the story about Jesus had a 
foundation in Palestinian tradition, as the story of 
Gehazi (Paul) had. And in both cases, what we 
have is a product of the Babylonian schools. Both 
are probably of very late date, and though one may 
have preceded the other, there seems no reason to 
place any considerable interval between them. 

It is curious, by the way, that in neither story is 
any further reference made to that repulsion by both 
hands, which each story is quoted to illustrate. 1 

Ben Damah and Jacob of Chephar Sama 

(28) T. Hull, ii. 22, 23.— The case of R. El'azar ben 
Damah, whom a serpent bit. There came in 
Jacob, a man of Chephar Sama, to cure him 
in the name of Jeshua' ben Pandira, but R. 
Ishmael did not allow it. He said, ' Thou art 
not permitted, Ben Damah.' He said, • I will 
bring thee a proof that he may heal me.' But 
he had not finished bringing a proof when he 
died. R. Ishmael said, ■ Happy art thou, Ben 
Damah, for thou hast departed in peace, and 
hast not broken through the ordinances of the 
wise ; for upon every one who breaks through 
the fence of the wise, punishment comes at 
last, as it is written [Eccl. x. 8]: Whoso 
breaketh a fence a serpent shall bite him. 

(29) j. Shabb. 14 d . — Almost word for word the same 
as (28), then follows: — The serpent only bit 

1 For the phrase, see Mechilta, Jithro, 58 b . 


him in order that a serpent might not bite him 
in the future. And what could he [B. Damah] 
have said ? (Lev. xviii. 5) : Wliich, if a man do, 
he shall live in them [i.e. not die in them]. 

(30) j. A. Zar. 40 d , 41 a .— Same as (29), except that 
after the words " came in to cure him," is 
added, " He said, We will speak to thee in the 
name of Jeshu ben Pandira." 

(31) b. A. Zar. 27 b . — A man shall have no dealings 
with the Minim, nor be cured by them, even 
for the sake of an hour of life. The case of 
Ben Dama, sister's son of Rabbi Ishmael, whom 
a serpent bit. There came Jacob the Min of 
Chephar Sechanja to cure him ; but R. Ishmael 
would not allow him. And he [B. Dama] said 
to him, ' R. Ishmael, my brother, allow him, 
that I may be cured by him, and I will bring 
a text from the Torah that this is permitted.' 
But he had not finished his discourse when his 
soul departed, and he died. R. Ishmael pro- 
nounced over him, 'Happy art thou, Ben 
Dama, for thy body is pure and thy soul hath 
departed in purity, and thou hast not trans- 
gressed the words of thy companions, who have 
said [Eccl. x. 8]: Whoso breaketh through a 

fence, a serpent shall bite him.' It is different 

in regard to Minuth, which bites a man, so 

that he comes to be bitten afterwards. 

Commentary. — A fifth version of this story is given 

in the Midrash, Qoheleth Rabba, i. 8, along with a 

good deal else referring to Minuth, of which use will 

be made subsequently. The story of Ben Damah 

there given, however, does not add anything to what 


is contained in one or other of the four versions 
already cited. 

We have here to deal with an event separated by 
no long interval of time from the date at which it was 
first recorded. R. Ishmael was one of the most 
distinguished Rabbis whose teaching is contained in 
the Mishnah and Tosephta ; he lived in the first half 
of the second century, and there is reason to believe 
that he did not die in the war of Bar Cocheba, or im- 
mediately afterwards (a.d. 135), but survived it some 
years [see below, p. 131 fol]. R. Ishmael spent the 
greater part of his life in Chephar Aziz, a village in 
the extreme south, on the borders of Idumea (M. 
Qid. vi. 4, Khethub. v. 8). It is not likely that he 
would there be brought into contact with a Galilean, 
and Jacob of Chephar Sama (or Sechanja) was of 
course a Galilean. But it is said that R. Ishmael was 
present at an assembly of Rabbis at Usha, in Galilee 
(b. B. Bathr. 28% b ), x and although the date of that 
meeting cannot be precisely determined, it seems 
probable that it took place not long before the out- 
break of the rebellion of Bar Cocheba, say 130. a.d. 
or thereabouts. Two assemblies at Usha are distinctly 
mentioned (b. R. ha Sh. 31% b ), the second being 
immediately after the close of the rebellion. It is 
probable, then, that the incident of Ben Damah and 
Jacob of Chephar Sama (Sechanja) took place on the 
occasion of the first assembly at Usha. Ben Damah 
is elsewhere (b. Menah. 99 b ) said to have asked 

1 The assembly at Usha, here mentioned, is probably the second of the 
two, as that was certainly the more famous. But if R. Ishmael attended the 
second, there is every reason to suppose that he also attended the first. This 
is all that matters as far as his presence in Galilee is concerned. 


permission from his uncle, R. Ishmael, to study Greek 
philosophy. Permission was refused by the quotation 
of Josh. i. 8, Thou shalt meditate thereon [the book 
of the Law] day and night, and the command, 
' Go, seek a time when it is neither day nor night, 
and therein study Greek philosophy.' 

Jacob of Chephar Sama or Sechanja is evidently a 
Christian ; but, no less evidently, he cannot have been 
a contemporary of Jesus, still less identical with James 
(Jacob) the brother of Jesus, as has been suggested. 
The latter was put to death somewhere about the 
year 44 a.d. ; and R. Ishmael was only a boy when 
Jerusalem was captured in a.d. 70. Jacob was an 
extremely common name, and no identification with 
any known Christian is possible. The place to which 
this Jacob belonged is called variously Chephar Sama 
and Ch. Sechanja. The first is thought to be the 
modern Khefr Sumeia, and the second the well-known 
Sichnin (modern Suchnin) ; as these two places are 
only nine miles apart, Jacob may quite well have been 
associated with both. In a passage which will be 
examined presently, this same Jacob is said to have 
talked with R. Eliezer b. Horqenos, in the High 
Street of Sepphoris, and to have communicated to 
him a saying of Jesus. [See below, p. 138 and 
especially p. 143]. If we suppose that Jacob was, 
roughly speaking, about the same age as R. Eliezer, 
he would belong to the third generation of Christian 
disciples, hardly to the second. 

As to the details of the story, there is little variation 
among the several versions given above. In all, the 
Christian proposes to heal the sick man in the name of 
Jeshu ben Pandira, i.e. as the Palestinian Gemara (30) 


says, by pronouncing that name over the sufferer (cp. 
Acts iii. 6, ix. 34 ; Mark xvi. 17, 18). R. Ishmael 
refused to allow the cure to be performed, although 
his nephew pleaded that he had scripture warrant for 
it. He died while speaking; but the Palestinian 
Gemara (29) supplies what he had not time to say, by 
referring to Lev. xviii. 5. Ben Damah would have 
argued that since a man was to live by doing the 
things commanded in the Torah, he would be justified, 
for the sake of them, in saving his life. 

The quotation of Eccl. x. 8 is ambiguous. It 
appears to have been suggested by the mere fact of 
B. Damah having been bitten by a serpent. But, on 
the other hand, according to the text, the bite of a 
serpent was a punishment for having " broken through 
a fence," i.e. "transgressed the ordinances of the 
Rabbis," according to the Rabbinical interpretation. 
Now Ben Damah had not done this, and therefore 
R. Ishmael praised him ; but he had been bitten by a 
serpent. Tosephta (28) does not attempt to get over 
the difficulty; the Pal. Gemara (29) explains that 
the bite of the serpent, which killed Ben Damah, was 
to prevent him from meeting a worse fate hereafter ; 
for if he had " transgressed the ordinances of the 
wise," he would have been a heretic, and in the world 
to come would have suffered the fate of a heretic. 
In other words, Jacob the heretic would have infected 
him with the venom of heresy, if allowed to cure his 
wound, and thus the literal serpent saved him from 
the figurative serpent. 

The word translated 'heresy' is Minuth, the 
abstract noun from Min ; and there can be no ques- 
tion but that here the heresy intended is Christianity. 


This is evident from the mention of Jacob as a dis- 
ciple of Jesus, and it is important as helping to decide 
the real significance of the terms Min and Minuth. 
The next extract will afford evidence of a similar 

The Grandson of R. Jehoshua ben Levi 
and a Christian Doctor 

(32) j. Shabb. 14 d .— The grandson [of R. Jehoshua 
ben Levi] had something stuck in his throat. 
There came, a man and whispered to him in 
the name of Jeshu Pandera, and he recovered. 
When he [the doctor] came out, he [R. 
Jehoshua] said to him, 'What didst thou 
whisper to him ? ' He said to him, < A certain 
word.' He said, * It had been better for him 
that he had died rather than thus.' And it 
happened thus to him, as it were an error that 
proceedetkfrom the ruler (Ecc. x. 5). 

j. A. Zar. 40 d gives the passage in the same 

words as above, this page of the treatise being, 

indeed, to a considerable extent a repetition of 

that in the treatise Shabbath. The story is 

found also in the Midrash Qoh. rabbah, on 

x. 5, in a shorter form. 

Commentary.— Jehoshua ben Levi is one of the 

best known of the Talmudic Rabbis. He lived and 

taught for the most part at Lud (Lydda), where he 

followed his own teacher Bar Qappara, a.d. 260. 

But he was in close association with the two great 

teachers, Johanan and Resh Laqish, whose college 

was in Tiberias. It is probable that it was in Tiberias 


that the incident took place which is described above. 
For the grandson referred to was probably the son of 
R. Joseph (son of R. Jehoshua) who had married into 
the family of the Patriarch Jehudah II., and Tiberias 
was the latter's place of residence. A Christian 
doctor might be met with elsewhere, as in the case of 
R. Abahu, in the next extract. 

The main outline of the story resembles that of 
Ishmael and Ben Damah, except that in the passage 
before us the Christian was not prevented from doing 
what he came to do. R. Jehoshua had not been 
present to interfere, but apparently only met him as 
he was coming away. The meaning of the quotation 
from Ecc. x. 5, I suppose to be, that the fact of the 
child having been cured by a Christian was a deplor- 
able evil which could not be undone, as the command 
of a ruler given in error, and implicitly obeyed, may 
result in mischief which cannot be afterwards put 
right. This is on the lines of the explanation given 
by Rashi and Aben Ezra in their commentaries on 
Ecclesiastes. It is characteristic of the feeling of 
Jews towards Christians in the third century in"\ 

That feeling is further illustrated by the following : 

R. Abahu, and Jacob the Min 

(33) b. A. Zar. 28 a .— And yet, R. Abahu was an 
eminent man, and Jacob the Min applied a 
drug to his leg, and if it had not been for R. 
Ami and R. Asi, who licked his leg, he would 
have cut his leg off. 

Commentary. — The above occurs in the midst of a 


discussion on the question whether in cases of sick- 
ness the help of non- Jewish physicians might be used. 
R. Johanan laid down the rule that in cases for which 
the Sabbath might be profaned, i.e. in very dangerous 
cases, such help might not be used, but that in slighter 
cases it might; the meaning of which seems to be 
that all risk was to be avoided of a man dying under 
non-Jewish treatment. This rule is given immedi- 
ately after the story of Ben Damah, already discussed, 
and is repeated just before the present passage re- 
ferring to Abahu. The connexion is this, that an 
exception might be made to Johanan's rule if the 
patient were an eminent man, "and yet, R. Abahu 
was an eminent man, etc." 

Abahu lived in Caesarea at the end of the third and 
the beginning of the fourth century. He had very 
frequent intercourse with Christians, as will be seen 
hereafter, and such intercourse was not always un- 
friendly. The Gemara in recording the above inci- 
dent seems to suppose that Jacob the Min intended 
to kill his patient by putting poison into a wound in 
his leg, and says that if Abahu's two friends had not 
licked the poison off (or rather perhaps sucked it out) 
Abahu would have cut off his own leg rather than be 
saved by a Christian. And the Gemara supports its 
view by quoting Jud. xvi. 30, where Samson says, 
* Let me die with the Philistines? to show that the 
Christian was bent on killing Abahu though he should 
lose his own life in consequence. But this can hardly 
be the real meaning of the incident. Abahu was * an 
eminent man,' closely associated with the court of the 
Roman governor, and would therefore be attended by 
a physician of his own choice. Indeed, the whole 


point of the story, in reference to Johanan's rule about 
calling in non-Jewish physicians, implies that Abahu 
must himself have called in Jacob the Min, knowing 
him to be a Min. If so, he cannot have felt any such 
dislike towards his physician, as would make him cut 
off his own leg rather than allow the Christian remedy 
to be applied. His two friends, however, appear to 
have felt as R. Ishmael and R. Jehoshua felt, as de- 
scribed in the preceding passages. They licked off, 
or sucked out, the drug applied by the Christian ; and 
whether they supposed it to be poison, or only dis- 
liked a Christian remedy, their antipathy to the 
Christian is equally apparent. 

The commentary of Tosaphoth on the passage 
explains, rather needlessly, that the Jacob the Min 
who is mentioned here cannot have been the same as 
the Jacob of Chephar Sama (Sechanja) who attended 
Ben Damah. There was a period of some 170 years 
between them. 

In b. Hull 84 a occurs a reference to a certain Jacob 
the Min, who is said to have discussed a point of 
Halachah with Raba, a Babylonian teacher in Mahuza, 
early in the fourth century. 1 As far as chronology is 
concerned this might be the same Jacob as the one 
who attended Abahu; but I do not know what he 
should be doing in Mahuza. Jacob was a very 
common name, and there must have been many 
Jewish Christians who were so called. 

tt! °< P ; ^ t h t K T: W ? ere " a oertain Min " has an a***** with Raba. 
The Jacob Minaah' who met Raba is hardly identical with the 'Jacob 

^rfi.7 h0 T T Ve ™ d *** R * Jehudah < b - Me S- 2 3 a ), if this be R 
Jehudah ben Jehesq'el, since the latter died about the time (a.d. 292) when 
Raba was born. N ' 


A Contest of Miracles 

(34) j. Sanh. 25 d . — For example, R. Lazar and R. 
Jehoshua and R. Aqiba went up to bathe in a 
certain public bath in Tiberias. A certain Min 
(heretic) saw them. He said something, and 
the arched roof held them fast. It. Lazar 
said to It. Jehoshua, < What ! Jehoshua ben 
Hananjah, see what thou canst do.' When 
that Min went forth, R. Jehoshua said some- 
thing, and the door held him fast, and every- 
one who entered gave him a blow, and every 
one who went out gave him a thrust in the 
back. He said, 'Undo what ye have done.' 
They said, ' Undo, and we will undo.' They 
each did so. When they had gone forth, R. 
Jehoshua said, ' Well, how clever thou art ! ' 
He said, ' Let us go down to the sea.' When 
they had gone down to the sea, the Min said 
something, and the sea was divided. He said 
to them, < And did not Moses your master do 
thus in the sea ? ' They said to him, ' Wilt 
thou not agree with us that Moses our master 
walked in the midst of it ? ' He said to them, 
1 Yes.' They said to him, ' Then do thou walk 
in the midst of it.' He walked in the midst of 
it. And R. Jehoshua commanded the Prince 
of the Sea, and he swallowed him up. 
Commentary. — The foregoing tale is given as an 
illustration in a discussion upon magic and witch- 
craft, arising out of the text (Exod. xxii. 18), Thou 
shalt not suffer a witch to live. The three Rabbis 


mentioned are very well known characters. R. Lazar * 
is R. El'azar ben Azariah. R. Jehoshua ben 
Hananiah was the contemporary, and, in a sense, 
rival of R. Eliezer ben Horqenos whom we have 
already met with (see above, No. 4). Aqiba has also 
been frequently mentioned. All three were living 
at the beginning of the second century a.d. The 
Christian might, so far as chronology goes, have been 
the same Jacob of Chephar Sama who came to cure 
Ben Damah ; but there is nothing to identify him. 
The story itself needs little explanation. The Rabbis 
go to a public bath and apparently enter a room with 
a vaulted roof. Levy (N. H. W., ii. 322, s.v. rmo) 
says that what is meant is the arched recess where an 
idol stood ; but the quotation which he gives in sup- 
port of this view (b. A. Zar. 16 a ) does not seem to 
me to show this. However, it was evidently some 
small arch, under or in which a man could stand. 
The Min, whom here we may safely call a Christian 
(after the example of Jacob the Min, who was a dis- 
ciple of Jesus), pronounced a spell, literally ' said what 
he said,' and the arch held them fast. Jehoshua 
retaliated by a spell which caused the door to hold 
the Christian fast, so that he blocked the way, and 
people as they tried to go in or out struck him. 
After releasing each other they all went down to * the 
sea/ i.e. the lake of Galilee. By another spell the 
Christian divided the water, to show that he could 
do what Moses did. He incautiously admitted that 
Moses also walked in the midst of the divided water, 
and he was challenged to do the same. He fell into 

1 Lazar is the shorter form of Eleazar, and appears in the N. T. as 



the trap ; and when he was in the midst of the water, 
Jehoshua commanded the 'Prince of the Sea,' the 
angel or spirit in charge of the lake, and the water 
swallowed him up. 

This story is anonymous, and there is nothing to 
indicate its age or origin. It is certainly not con- 
temporary with the Rabbis who figure in it, unless 
we admit that Jehoshua ben Hananiah enjoyed during 
his lifetime the reputation for magical power which 
was afterwards attributed to him. It should be noted 
that the miracles of the Christian are admitted to be 
as real as those of his opponent. There is complete 
faith in miracles all through the story. I use the 
term ' miracle,' though the Talmud speaks of magic, 
because it is well to remind the reader that what 
the N.T. calls a miracle (at least in English, 
the Greek has 0-77/xeia or Swa/xeis), the Talmud — 
reflecting current belief — regards as magic, i.e. as the 
result of superhuman agency employed by men who 
know how to call it forth. Without expressing any 
opinion on the reality of the alleged miracles of Jesus, 
I would remark that the Jews admitted them as 
genuine, no less than the acts performed by their own 
Rabbis, the difference being not in the character of 
the deeds, but in that of the persons who performed 
them. So in the story above, the rival enchanters 
perform exactly similar acts; and since the story is 
told from the Jewish side, naturally the victory 
remains with the Rabbi. The fate of the Christian 
may perhaps contain an allusion to the story told in 
the Gospels, of Peter trying to walk on the water. If 
that story had its origin in Galilee, it might well 
continue to be remembered on the shores of the lake. 


On the same page in which the passage above 
translated occurs are some further remarks on Jewish 
and Christian miracles, which may throw light on the 
probable date of the story. They would have to be 
included in any collection of Talmudic references to 
Christianity, but are hardly of sufficient importance 
to be treated by themselves under a separate head. 
They will therefore be given here. 

Miracles by Jews and Minim 

(35) j. Sanh. 25 d . — R. Jehoshua ben Hananiah 
said, ' I can take cucumbers and melons and 
make them into kids and goats, and they really 
are made into kids and goats/ R. Jannai said, 
' I was walking in a certain street of Sepphoris, 
and I saw a certain Min take a bird, and he 
cast it up and it fell down and was made into 
a calf.' But it is not so. R. Lazar said in 
the name of R. Josd ben Zimra, ' If all who 
come into the world were assembled together, 
they would not be able to create a gnat and 
put breath in it.' Let us say, not that this Min 
took a bird and cast it up and it came down 
and was made into a calf, but that he called to 
his prince [familiar spirit] and he stole a calf 
from the herd and brought it to him. R. 
Hanina ben R. Hananiah said, ' I was going 
along a certain place near the gate of Sepphoris, 
and I saw a Min take a skull and cast it up and 
it came down and was made into a calf. And 
I went and told my father. He said, * If thou 


hast eaten of it, it is a real one ; if not, it is an 

Commentary. — R. Jannai lived in Sepphoris about 
the end of the second and the beginning of the third 
century. He was one of the teachers of R. Johanan, 
to whom is traditionally ascribed the codification of 
the Palestinian Gemara. R. Jannai's remark about 
the miracle which he saw is given without the 
support of any later teacher who vouched for it. It 
is simply quoted by the compilers of the Gemara as a 
detached saying. R. Jose b. Zimra was contemporary 
with R. Jannai, possibly an inhabitant of the same 
town. He is quoted by R. Lazar (i.e. El'azar b. 
Pedath), a Babylonian who migrated to Palestine 
about the middle of the third century. Apparently 
the compilers of the Gemara felt some misgiving at 
the assertion that animals had been produced by 
magic, and they quote R. Jose* b. Zimra in support of 
the view that no human being can create even the 
smallest living creature; but they do not on that 
account reject the miracle. They explain it by 
saying that it was done by the help of superhuman 
beings, who brought what was wanted, in place of the 
thing that was apparently changed. A similar doubt 
as to the reality of the miracle is expressed in the 
story about R. Hanina b. R. Hananiah, where his 
father told him that unless he had actually eaten of 
the calf which he said he had seen made, he could not 
be sure it was a real one. 

All these sayings and stories about magic seem to 
belong to a late period, and to be merely fragments 
collected by the compilers of the Gemara, by way 
of illustration, rather than duly recorded tradition. 


That the real R. Jehoshua b. Hananiah, a very well- 
known personage, should have said that he had the 
magical power ascribed to him above, is less likely 
than that such power should have been attributed to 
him in later times. He had indeed the reputation of 
being a great opponent of the Minim (heretics), and 
that may account for the part which he played in the 
contest with the Christian in the first story. 

It is remarkable that nearly all the incidents men- 
tioned above are located in Sepphoris, and that the 
same place was the scene of a much more important 
event, the meeting of JR.. Eliezer b. Horqenos and 
Jacob of Chephar Sama. It would be very inter- 
esting to know whether the Jewish Christians of 
Galilee possessed an original Galilean, as distinguished 
from the Judaean, tradition of the ministry of Jesus. 

The above passages serve to show that miracles 
were accepted as genuine, whether done by Jews or 
Christians, and that they were all alike regarded as 

It has been impossible to avoid mentioning the 
word Min x in the above remarks, since it occurs in 
the texts to be translated. And 1 have translated it 
6 Christian ' because the connexion with Jesus seemed 
to be clearly shown. But I do not wish to take it for 
granted that in all cases ( Min ' denotes a Christian. 
I will therefore present here several passages in which 
the Talmud attempts to indicate what is a Min. And 
although this will still leave something to be said by 
way of general discussion of the question, after all the 
Rabbinical passages referring to ' Minim ' have been 
given, yet a provisional definition by the Rabbis 

1 Min, plural Minim ; abstract noun Minuth, the state of being a Min. 


themselves will be of much use in dealing with subse- 
quent passages. I proceed to give 


The Fate of the Minim Hereafter 

(36) T. Sanh. xiii. 4, 5.— The sinners of Israel, and 
the sinners of the nations of the world descend 
into Gehinnom in their body, and they are 
judged there twelve months. After twelve 
months their soul perishes and their body is 
burnt, and Gehinnom casts it out, and they 
are made dust and the wind disperses them 
and scatters them under the soles of the feet 
of the righteous, as it is said (Mai. iv. 3), And 
ye shall tread down the wicked, for they shall be 
dust under the soles of the feet of the righteous, 
f Ch)l)' ll< in the day that I do make, saith the Lord of 
Hosts. But the Minim, and the apostates 
and the betrayers and Epiqurosin, and those 
who have lied concerning the Torah, and those 
who depart from the ways of the congregation, 
and those who have lied concerning the resur- 
rection of the dead, and everyone who has 
sinned and caused the multitude to sin, after 
the manner of Jeroboam and Ahab, and those 
(Ezek. xxxii. 24) who have set their fear in the 
land of the living, and have stretched forth their 
hand against Zebul, Gehinnom is shut in their 
faces and they are judged there for generations 
of generations, as it is said (Isa. lxvi. 24), 
And they shall go forth and look upon the 
corpses of tJie men who sin against me, for their 


worm shall not die, nor their fire be quenched, 
and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. 
Sheol fails, they fail not, as it is said (Ps. xlix. 
14), Their beauty shall be for Sheol to con- 
sume, who hath caused them to stretch forth 
their hand against Zebul, as it is said {ibid,), 
that there be no Zebul for him, and Zebul 
means nothing else but the Temple, as it is 
said (1 Kings viii. 13), J have surely built 
thee an house of habitation (Zebul), a place for 
thee to dwell in for ever. 
Commentary. — A sharp distinction is here made 
between Jewish and Gentile sinners on the one hand, 
and Minim, betrayers and Epiqurosin on the other. 
The Jewish sinners remain Jews though they sin. 
The Gentile sinners have not sinned against the Torah 
of Israel, because they are not bound by it. They 
are punished merely qua sinners ; and twelve months 
in Gehinnom suffices to punish their offence. Far 
greater is the guilt of those who, being Jews, have 
sinned against the fundamental principles of the 
Jewish religion. Apostasy in some form or another 
is implied in the terms 'Minim,' 'apostates/ 'be- 
trayers,' ' Epiqurosin.' These are not interchangeable. 
Reserving for the moment the first, the betrayers 
(Masoroth) are explained by Rashi to mean "slan- 
derers, who betray the wealth of Israel into the hands 
of Gentiles." More particularly they are Jewish 
'delators,' informers, spies, acting against Israel in 
the interest of the Roman government. Epiqurosin 
(plur. of Epiquros) is plainly borrowed from the 
personal name Epicurus ; but it contains also a play 
on the word 'paqar' ("ipa), which means 'to be free 


from restraint.' The name denotes, in general terms, 
a freethinker, one who disregards the restraints of 
traditional authority. An Epiquros was not neces- 
sarily a Jew, he might be a Gentile. Thus it is said 
(b. Sanh. 38 b ), " They teach there [in Palestine] R. 
El'azar said, 'Be careful to learn Torah, and know 
what thou shalt answer to an Epiquros.' R. Johanan 
said, 'They taught not so except concerning an 
Epiquros of the Gentiles.' But all the more concern- 
ing a Jewish Epiquros, for he is more defiant (>bb nps)." 1 
In other words the Jewish Epiquros was the more 
dangerous opponent because he was an enemy within 
the camp. The term does not, so far as 1 know, imply 
the holding or rejecting of any specific doctrines, 
but merely the assertion of liberty of thought upon 
all subjects, and consequent disregard of external 
authority. A Gentile Epiquros would be one who, 
in controversy, did not from the first admit the 
authority of Jewish tradition as upheld by the Rabbis, 
a Jewish Epiquros would be one who, having formerly 
acknowledged the Rabbinical authority, afterwards 
rejected it. But a man is only an Epiquros, if I 
\\ rightly understand the term, when he is considered 
*» as having relation with the Jewish religion. A Greek 
philosopher, teaching in Rome or Athens, would not, 
merely as such, be an Epiquros ; but if he had a con- 
troversy with a Jew upon some question affecting 
Judaism, then he would be a Gentile Epiquros. A 
Jew became an Epiquros as soon as he showed a 
disposition to despise the Rabbinical authority and 
go his own way. Thus it is said (b. Sanh. 99 b ) that 
an Epiquros is like those who say, ' What are these 

1 See below, p. 294 fol. 


Rabbis to us ? ' And on the same page they are 
compared to "one who sits before his Rabbi, and 
there has come to him a tradition from another place, 
and he says, ' Thus we teach there,' instead of saying, 
'Thus the teacher (Rabbi so-and-so) hath said.'" 
Compare with this, Matthew v. 21, 22 : It was said 
to them of old time .... but I say unto you. We 
may then provisionally assume that Epiquros denotes 
a free-thinker in the widest sense of the word. 

It will be evident that the term Min denotes some- 
thing similar to Epiquros, since they are both in- 
cluded in the passage before us, along with apostates 
and betrayers. The various details of apostasy — 
denial of the resurrection of the dead, of the Torah, 
etc. — are not specified as being characteristic of one 
class of apostates more than of another ; and we may 
take them as applying to Minim no less than to 
Epiqurosin, while on the other hand there must be 
some difference to account for the use of two terms 
where one would have sufficed. The difference 
between Min and Epiquros is much the same as the 
difference between 'heretic' and 'free-thinker.' The 
heretic usually is a free-thinker ; but not every free- 
thinker is a heretic. From the standpoint of Judaism 
a Gentile might be a free-thinker, but not a heretic ; 
since, being a Gentile, he had never professed the 


heretic without being also a free-thinker. The term 
Min_jdeno_tes, I believe, invariably a Jewish heretic, i 
i.e. one who, having been trained in the principles^of 
the Jewish religion, departs from them and is un- 
faithful towards them, violates the covenant between 

Jewish religion. Only a Jew could be a heretic 
as regards Judaism; and he could scarcely be a 


God and Israel. 1 This I believe to be the root sig- 
nificance of the term Min, and if so it would be 
practically equivalent to Jewish Epiquros. But I 
think that Min, more often than Epiquros, implies not 
merely freedom of thought, but the holding or re- 
jecting of specific opinions. It does not always do so; 
but it does sometimes, while I believe that this is 
hardly ever the case with Epiquros. We have already 
met with several instances of the word Min, and have 
judged from the context that the persons referred to 
were Christians. So far as I know, the Talmud 
seldom, if ever speaks of a Christian as Epiquros. 
And I infer that the term Min carried with it the 
denial of certain doctrines, as the expression of the 
unfaithfulness in which his heresy consisted. A Min, 
as such, was not necessarily a Christian ; but, as a / 
matter of fact, most of the heretics who came into 
strained relations with Jews were Christians, and 
more particularly Jewish Christians. If they had 
been Gentile Christians they would probably have 
been called Epiqurosin. And thus it often happens 
that ' Jewish - Christian ' is a correct equivalent 
of 'Min,' while yet it remains true that Min does 
not properly signify 'Jewish-Christian,' but only 
■ heretic' 2 This, at all events, is the meaning which 

1 For the probable etymology of the word Min, see below, p. 362 fol. 

a Friedlander (der Vorchristliche jiidische Gnosticismus ; Gottingen, 1898) 
attempts to prove that the Minim were in all cases Gnostics, and more 
particularly of the Ophite sect His work will be more fully noticed in the 
concluding division of this book, when having the whole of the Talmudic 
evidence before us, we shall be able to judge of the value of his conclusions. 
His treatment of the Rabbinical authorities is far from satisfactory, if only 
because he bases his theory upon a comparatively small number of passages 
not always fairly presented. For a glaring omission, hardly to be ex- 
cused, see below, p. 145 n. 


I provisionally adopt of the term Min. I should have 
preferred, if possible, to have presented all the 
passages referring to Min and Minuth before at- 
tempting to fix the significance to be attached to the 
words ; but in that case it would have been difficult, 
if not impossible, to have given any clear idea of the 
bearing of each passage upon my main subject. It 
will be necessary to compare this provisional meaning 
with the context in each case, and to attempt a more 
precise identification of the class of persons referred to. 
It remains now to remark upon the details of the 
passage which has led to this discussion. It should 
be noted that it is contained in the Tosephta, and is 
thus not later than the end of the second or the be- 
ginning of the third century. " Who have lied con- 
cerning the Torah." The particular point of the 
denial is not stated ; but a comparison with M. Sanh. 
x. 1 makes it probable that the heretics denied that 
the Torah was from heaven. It is not stated that 
they denied the Torah, but that they lied concerning 
it, a charge which might cover a variety of offences. 
Similarly, " who have lied concerning the resurrection 
of the dead" does not necessarily imply that re- 
surrection itself was denied, but that some falsehood 
was taught concerning it ; probably, that it could not 
be proved from the Torah (M. Sanh. loc. cit). 
" Everyone who has sinned and caused the multitude 
to sin." We have already met with this phrase in 
connexion with both Jesus and Paul, (see above, pp. 
51, 101), and may fairly conclude that it is here 
directed against preachers of heresy, of whom, no 
doubt, Christians were the most important. "Who 
have set their terror in the land of the living " is a 


quotation from Ezek. xxxii. 24, 26, and as such, the 
precise point of the present application of the words 
remains doubtful. As used in Ezekiel, the words 
refer to the great nations — Asshur, Elam, Tubal, 
Meshech, and Edom — -who had at various times op- 
pressed Israel: and it is possible, especially in view 
of the following clause " Who have stretched forth 
their hands against Zebul (the Temple)," that the 
reference is to the Roman Empire, the oppressor 
above all others. If this is so, then it must be ad- 
mitted that these two last clauses do not in any way 
serve to describe Minim, or heretics. But, on the 
other hand, it seems forced and unnatural to pass so 
suddenly from heretics to political enemies; and 
further, the Talmud nowhere else, so far as I know, 
threatens the Romans, or even the Roman Emperor, 
with the fate here described. The date of the passage 
forbids us to think of a time when the Roman Empire 
had officially become Christian, and there is no reason 
to suspect an interpolation in the text. The political 
reference seems then to be excluded, and " those who 
have set their fear in the land of the living," must be J 
understood of some class of heretics. The explanation 
of R. Hisda (b. R. ha-Sh. 17 a ), that the reference is 
to " the steward, d:iq, of the synagogue, who makes 
himself too much feared by the congregation," does 
not seem adequate, in view of the severity of the 
punishment which is threatened. " Those who have 
stretched out their hands against Zebul." It is ex- 
plained in the Tosephta itself that Zebul (habitation) 
denotes the Temple. But it does not follow that the 
reference is to the destruction of the Temple by the 
Romans. And since the whole passage seems to be 


directed against heresy in some form, we may perhaps 
interpret this clause of those who, like the Christians, 
repudiated the claim of the Temple to be the place 
where alone worship could be duly and perfectly 
offered. Of course the Temple ceased to exist, when 
Titus destroyed it ; but this was only de facto, not de 

The sentence pronounced on all these offenders, 
heretics, apostates, betrayers, free thinkers, all who in 
their various ways sought to undermine the founda- 
tions of Rabbinical Judaism, is punishment during 
generations of generations in Gehinnom. When it is 
said that Gehinnom is shut in their faces, that can 
only mean that they cannot escape, though the 
natural meaning of shutting a door in the face of 
some one is that thereby his entrance is barred. 

On the Rabbinical conception of Gehinnom, see 
Weber, System der Altsynag. Theologie, p. 326, 
374. His translation (p. 375) of the passage which 
we have been studying is not sufficiently exact. 

The Formula against the Minim 

(37) j. Ber. 9 C . — Shemuel ha-Qaton went before 
the Ark [to recite the prayers]. He forgot 
"That casteth down the proud" at the end- 
He paused and tried to remember them. 
They said to him, " The wise have not framed 
it thus." 

Commentary. — See the commentary on the much 
fuller passage which follows. 

(38) b. Ber. 28 b , 29 a .— Our Rabbis teach : Shim'on 
the cotton-seller arranged the Eighteen 
Benedictions in the presence of Rabban 


Gamliel, according to their order, in Jabneh. 
Rabban Gamliel said to the Wise, " Is there 
anyone who knows how to compose a Benedic- 
tion of the Minim?" Shemuel ha-Qaton 
stood up and composed it. The following 
year he forgot it, and sought [to recall it] for 
two and even three hours, and they did not 
call him up [from the pulpit]. Why did they 
not call him up ? For Rab Jehudah said, that 
Rab said, " If a man makes a mistake in all 
the Benedictions, they do not call him up; 
but in the Benediction of the Minim they call 
him up." They suspect that he is a Min. It 
was different with Shemuel ha-Qaton, because 
he had composed it, and it was thought 
perhaps he would recover himself. 

[The first sentence of this passage occurs in 

b. Meg. 17 b , where follows a sort of running 

commentary on the Eighteen Benedictions. 

An incidental reference to the Minim occurs 

(according to the reading of Rabbinowicz) ; 

but nothing is stated beyond what is contained 

in the other passage quoted in this section.] 

Commentary. — This is an extremely important 

passage, because it records the official condemnation 

of the Minim by the Rabbis ; and it will be necessary 

to determine as accurately as possible the date of the 

incident here narrated. 

Before entering upon that investigation, I will 
notice the details of the story which call for remark. 
The Eighteen Benedictions 1 are a series of short 

1 For a full account of them, see Hamburger, Eeal Encykl. f. Bibel u. 
Talmud, ii., s.v. Schemone-Esre\ 


prayers still to be found in the Jewish liturgy. The 
word translated Benediction serves equally for male- 
diction, and it is rather in that sense that it is used in 
regard to the Minim. In the modern liturgy the 
Benediction referred to runs thus : — mpn wi fen psufafr, 
94 May there be no hope for the slanderers," where the 
word for * slanderers ' has been put in place of the 
ancient word Minim. 1 

These Eighteen Benedictions are said to have been 
arranged in order by Shim'on the cotton-seller, at 
Jabneh, in the presence of Rabban Gamliel. This 
was Gamliel II., who held the position of Patriarch 
(unw) after the death of Johanan ben Zaccai, some- 
where about the year 80 a.d. Of Shemuel ha-Qaton 
more will be said presently. He is said to have • com- 
posed' the Benediction; but perhaps it would be more 
correct to say ' adapted,' altered some previous formula 
so as to apply to the Minim. The formula drawn up 
by him was taken into use ; and the following year it 
fell to the lot of its author to recite it in the public 
service. He forgot the words, but tried for three 
hours to recall them, while the congregation waited, 
and did not " call him up " from the pulpit, i.e. cause 
him to leave it. The pulpit or reading-desk was 
below, not above, the general level of the seats of the 
congregation. According to later usage, a reader 
who made a mistake in reciting this benediction would 
have been made to leave the desk, because he would 
be suspected of being a Min. 2 The reason given why 
this was not done in the case of Shemuel ha-Qaton 

1 The form pWD suggests the transposition p*D h&. Hamburger 
thinks that p*6??D is the original which was altered into WO. 

2 See j. Ber. 9 C , which will be translated and explained below (p. 204). 


was that as he was the author of the formula he 
might be expected to remember it. 

It is curious that this incident is only given in 
detail in the Babylonian Gemara. It is quoted there 
as a Baraitha, i.e. it belongs to the stratum of Tradi- 
tion contemporary with that embodied in the Mishnah 
and Tosephta. So far as I know, the Mishnah does 
not expressly mention the "Benediction of the 
Minim." In Tosephta the story is not given, but the 
Benediction is referred to in a discussion of the 
question how the number eighteen is to be completed 
(T. Ber. hi. 25). A similar discussion is found in the 
Palestinian Gemara (j. Ber. iv. 3). As these do not 
throw any light on the story before us, the text of 
them will be deferred till the end of the commentary 
on this passage. 

The incident has every appearance of being 
historical; the explanation of Rab, quoted by R. 
Jehudah, plainly shows that he knew of the story, 
and as he was a disciple of R. Jehudah ha-Qadosh, 
the grandson of the Gamliel referred to, he is a 
sufficiently good witness. 

To determine the date of this incident, which is 
important as marking the official breach between the 
synagogue and the Minim, it is necessary to examine 
carefully the chronology of the life of Shemuel ha- 
Qaton. The date of his death will obviously afford 
a terminus ad quern for the date of the composition 
of the formula against the Minim. The death of 
Shemuel ha-Qaton is mentioned in several passages 
of the Talmud and Midrash, with but slight variations 
in the text. These are as follows : — 

(39) T. Sotah xiii. 4. — Also, in the hour of his 


death, he [Sh. ha-Q.] said, " Shim'on and 
Ishmael to the sword, and their companions 
to slaughter, and the rest of the people to 
plunder, and many troubles will come after- 
wards " ; and he said this in the Aramaic 

(40) j. Sotah 24 b . — The same words, with the 
addition, however, of the following, after 'in 
the Aramaic tongue,' "and they knew not 
what he said." 

(41) b. Sotah 48 b .— Same as (39). 

(42) b. Sanh ll a .— Same as (39). 

The question is, to whom did the dying man refer 
as " Shim'on and Ishmael " ? One thinks most 
naturally of Shim'on ben Gamliel and Ishmael ben 
Elisha, who were executed after the capture of 
Jerusalem a.d. 70. And, in spite of difficulties, I 
believe that this is the right interpretation. The 
detailed account in Ab. d. It. Nathan, c. 38, distinctly 
implies that the two men executed were the elder 
Shim'on b. Gamliel and the elder Ishmael b. Elisha. 
For Ishmael there says to Shim'on, "When thou 
didst sit and teach on the Mount of the House [i.e. 
the Temple], and all the multitude of Israel sat in thy 
presence, etc." 

Moreover, Ishmael speaks of himself as a priest 

and son of a high priest. But, if Shemuel ha-Qaton 

was a member of the assembly at Jabneh over which 

Rabban Gamliel presided, must not his dying words 

have referred to someone whose death took place 

later than the year 70 ? The period during which 

Rn. Gamliel presided at Jabneh is usually given as 

80-110 a.d. or thereabouts, so that Shemuel could 



not have died before 80 a.d. It is therefore held, 
amongst others, by Jost, Gratz, Weiss and Bacher, 
that the Ishmael referred to was Ishmael ben Elisha 
the younger, grandson of the one already mentioned 
and contemporary with Aqiba. (See Jost, Gsch. d. 
Jdtums., ii. p. 74 ; Gratz, G. d. J., iv. 175 ; Weiss, 
G. d. j. T., ii. 102 ; Bacher, Ag. d. Tannaiten, i. 243). 
This is also the view of Rashi, at least in so far that 
he explains the ■ companions ' of Shimon and Ishmael 
to be "such as R. Aqiba and R. Hanina ben Teradjon" 
(Rashi on b. Sanh. ll a ). Of course, these two were 
companions of the younger Ishmael. Moreover, it is 
said (and this is the strongest evidence in favour of 
this view), in Mechilta (Mishpat. c. 18, p. 95 b ), that 
Aqiba uttered a solemn warning to his disciples after 
the execution of R. Ishmael and Shimon. This is 
repeated in the late Treatise Semahoth c. 8, where, 
however, it is distinctly said that the Shim'on in 
question was Shim'on ben Gamliel. The passage in 
Mechilta is strong evidence, because that Midrash 
originated amongst the disciples of the younger 
Ishmael, who may be supposed to have known the 
circumstances of his death. 

Yet, in spite of the above evidence, supported as it 
is by the great authority of Jost, Gratz, Weiss, and 
Bacher, there is a difficulty in the way of accepting 
this interpretation ; because there is evidence to show 
that both the younger Ishmael and the younger 
Shim'on ben Gamliel survived the persecution of 
Hadrian, and died a natural death. This is un- 
questionably true in the case of Shim'on ben Gamliel, 
who died somewhere about a.d. 166. The historians 
above mentioned see clearly that he cannot have been 


the person referred to by Shemuel ha-Qaton, and ac- 
cordingly state that Ishmael was executed along with 
H a certain Simeon," whom they do not try to identify. 
But there is reason for believing that R. Ishmael also 
died a natural death, as is shown by Hamburger (R. 
EncykL, ii. 526) and Frankel (Darke ha-Mishnah, p. 
106). It is said (M. Nedar., ix. 10), "When [R. 
Ishmael] died, the daughters of Israel raised a lament 
and said, 'Ye daughters of Israel, weep for Rabbi 
Ishmael.' " (T. Nedar., v. 6, much the same.) In the 
Gemara (b. Nedar. 66 b ) it is said, « When R. Ishmael 
lay dying? the word being ' shechib ' (wr) not ' meth ' 
( no). Now the word no used in the other passages does 
not imply a violent death, while the word i^t? does 
imply a natural death. 1 The R. Ishmael here referred 
to is undoubtedly R. Ishmael ben Elisha the younger, 
for he is the R. Ishmael of the Mishnah and Tosephta. 
And in view of the fact that a lamentation was raised 
for him, compare what is said (b. Sanh. ll a ), ptsdd p« 
nvbn wwi *&> " They do not make lamentation for 
those slain by the kingdom " [i.e., political prisoners 
executed as rebels, and more particularly those 
executed after the rebellion of Bar Cocheba]. If this 
can be taken as a correct statement, then R. Ishmael 
ben Elisha was not one of those executed at that 
time. Further, the view that R. Ishmael survived 
the persecution, or, at all events, lived some time after 
it had begun, is confirmed by what is recorded in b. B. 
Bathra 60 b : " It is tradition, R. Ishmael ben Elisha 
said . . . . ' from the day when the wicked kingdom 

1 3*26? is from the root 2D 8?, to lie, and it i.* used of persons who are 
dangerously ill. Cp. b. B. Qam. 38 a , 47 b , and especially lll b , where Raba 
eays, " When I was very ill (&02*2fc>), etc." 


prevailed, which decrees against us wicked and hard 
ordinances, and prevents us from fulfilling Torah and 
commandments, and does not allow us to assemble to 
circumcise a son, etc' " This certainly refers to the 
edicts which were made by Hadrian, after the sup- 
pression of the rebellion under Bar Cocheba, a.d. 135 ; 
and if so, R. Ishmael must have survived at all events 
the beginning of the persecution. The form of the 
expression, " from the day that the wicked kingdom 
prevailed," leads to the conclusion that some time, 
probably years, had elapsed since the decrees had 
come into force. Finally, if there be any truth 
in the extraordinary tale (b. A. Zar. ll a ) that the 
skull of R. Ishmael was preserved among the 
Imperial treasures in Rome, that could refer quite 
as well to the older Ishmael, who undoubtedly 
was executed by the Romans, a.d. 70, as to the 
younger Ishmael. It is, in any case, no proof that 
the latter was executed. 

If these considerations are well founded, then it is 
clear that the dying speech of Shemuel ha-Qaton did 
not refer to the younger Ishmael and Shimon, unless 
on the assumption that the words contain a prophecy 
which was not fulfilled. The Talmud does not say 
that they were a prophecy, and does regard them 
as referring to persons who actually died a violent 

There seems to me to be a quite simple explanation, 
which will meet all the difficulty of identifying the 
Ishmael and Shim'on, and which will also throw light 
upon the incident of Shemuel ha-Qaton's mistake in 
the recitation of the formula concerning the Minim. 
Let us suppose that Shemuel ha-Qaton was a very 


old man at the time of his death. In that case he 
would be contemporary with the elder Ishmael ben 
Elisha and Shimon ben Gamliel, who were executed 
a.d. 70, and no doubt friendly with them. On his 
own deathbed, his thoughts may very well have gone 
back to the dreadful memories of the war, and have 
recalled the tragic fate of his two old friends — 
"Shim'on and Ishmael to the sword." All that he 
said found ample illustration in the slaughter and 
plunder that followed the capture of Jerusalem ; and 
it is not at all necessary to suppose that he prophesied 
the final catastrophe of the persecution under 
Hadrian. 1 Now if he was a very old man at the time 
of his death, it is easy to understand how such a 
failure of memory might have happened to him, as is 
described in the incident of the Minim-formula. Such 
forgetfulness is certainly much more natural to an old 
man than to a young one. Now the question is, Was 
he an old man at the time of his death ? It is 
generally assumed that he died young ; but, as it 
seems to me, the available evidence does not prove 
this. If it does not, on the other hand, prove that he 
reached an advanced age, it at least allows the 
possibility of his having done so. A curious story is 
told (j. Sanh. 18 c and elsewhere) as follows : — " It 
happened that Rabban Gamliel said, 'Let seven elders 
meet me in the upper room,' and eight entered. He 
said, 'Who is it that has entered without leave?' 
Shemuel ha-Qaton stood up upon his feet and said, 
P I have come without leave; 1 wanted [to know] the 
halachah, and I have come to ask concerning it.' 

1 Observe the curious remark (j. Sotah. 24 b ), that the hearers did not 
understand what the dying man said. 


Rabban Gamliel said to him, * O, Eldad and Medad ! 
[Num. xi. 26] ; for all Israel know that if there are 
two such [as they] I say that thou art one of them,' 
etc." The Babylonian Gemara (Sanh. ll a ), which also 
tells this story, says : " It was not Shemuel ha-Qaton 
who did this [i.e. entered without leave], but another." 
And Hananel, in his commentary on the passage, says 
that he did it to screen the real culprit. This is 
adopted by Bacher (Ag. d. Tann., i. p. 88 n. 3, where 
the whole incident is admirably discussed). Now, if 
Shemuel ha-Qaton was an old man, and held in high 
esteem by Rabban Gamliel, he could rely on his age 
and position to shield the real offender much more 
confidently than if he had been only a young man. 
And when Gamliel says to him, "All Israel know 
that if there are two such, thou art one of them," that 
seems to imply that the character and standing of 
Shemuel were well known, and thus goes to confirm 
the view that he was not young. Gamliel would, so 
far as we can judge from his character, as elsewhere 
described, have been much less tolerant of a young 
man who had disobeyed his orders. There is nothing 
in the epithet "ha-Qaton," "the small," to prove 
that he was young. The distinguishing feature of 
his character is said to have been humility, and the 
epithet ' ha-Qaton " was supposed to have reference 
to that. This virtue of humility caused a comparison 
to be made between him and Hillel, so that he was 
sometimes called a disciple of Hillel. To suppose, 
however, that he actually had been a disciple of 
Hillel, would be to stretch the hypothesis of his 
advanced age beyond all probability ; for Hillel died 
about a.d. 4, and if Shemuel had been his disciple, he 


could hardly have been so at less than twenty years of 
age, which would make him at least ninety-six at the 
time when Gamliel began to preside over the 
assembly of Jabneh. 1 

Summing up the result of this chronological 
inquiry, I recognise that there is not evidence 
sufficient positively to decide the question whether 
Shemuel lived to an advanced age or not. But I 
submit that all the facts recorded about him, and 
mentioned above, not only are consistent with, but 
find their best explanation in, the hypothesis that he 
was already a very old man at the time when Gamliel 
began to preside at Jabneh, and I accordingly suggest 
that his death, and, a fortiori^ the composition of the 
formula concerning the Minim, must be dated very 
near the year 80 a.d. 

It remains only to say a word with regard to the 
formula itself. It was not exactly a malediction, 
but, as Gratz (iv. 105) well says, a kind of test- 
formula, for the purpose of detecting those who 
might be secretly inclined to heresy. The words 
ran, "May there be no hope for the Minim." 

As already remarked, the Mishnah does not 
mention the formula. The passages in Tosephta 

1 In j. Hor. 48 c it is said that when the wise were assembled in the house 
of Gorion, in Jericho, they heard a Bath Qol saying, ■ There are two of you 
upon whom the Holy Spirit may worthily rest> and Hillel is one of them.' 
They fixed their eyes upon Shemuel ha-Qaton. In the earlier version of this 
story, T. Sotah. xiii. 3, Shemuel ha-Qaton is not mentioned in connexion 
with Hillel. But the next paragraph narrates how he, in like manner, was 
indicated at Jabneh. The authority for connecting Shemuel with Hillel in 
the same incident is R. Jehoshua ben Levi, quoted by R. Jacob bar Idi 
(j. Sot. 24 c ). So late a witness can certainly not establish the fact of their 
having been contemporaneous ; but his testimony may indicate a traditiom 
that Shemuel was an old man when he died. 


and the Palestinian Gemara which refer to it are the 
following : — 

(43) T. Ber. iii. 25.— The Eighteen Benedictions 
which the wise have said, corresponding to 
the eighteen Invocations [mentions of the 
divine Name] in [Ps. xxix.], Give unto the 
Lord, O ye sons of the mighty. The bene- 
diction concerning the Minim is included in 
that concerning the seceders, and that con- 
cerning strangers in that concerning elders, 
and that concerning David in that concerning 
Jerusalem. And if they said these on their 
own account, that would be valid. 

(44) j. Ber. 8 a . — R. Huna said, If a man saith to 
thee, They [the benedictions] are seventeen, 
say to him, ' The Wise in Jabneh have before 
now appointed that concerning the Minim. ' 
R. Elazar ben It. Jose 1 objected in the 
presence of It. Jose' 'But it is written [Ps. 
xxix. 3], The God of glory thundereth ' [i.e. 
that the divine name is mentioned nineteen, 
instead of eighteen, times in the Psalm]. 
R. Jose replied, But it is taught, The bene- 
diction concerning the Minim and the sinners 
is included in 'casteth down the proud,' and 
that concerning elders and strangers in 'the 
refuge for the righteous,' and that concerning 
David in 'who buildeth Jerusalem.' 

I reserve for the concluding chapter the discussion 

■ R. Jose is R. Jos6 ben Halaphta, whose father was intimate with R. 
Gamliel of Jabneh. R. Jose himself may possibly have been one of the 
assembly at Jabneh ; but, as he was only ordained after a.d. 135, he would 
be very young when R. Gamliel died, a.d. 110 or thereabouts. 



of the bearing of the "formula concerning the 
Minim" upon the relations between Jesus and 
heretics, only remarking here that Jewish Christians 
would probably be those who would feel most of its J 
force as a means of detecting heresy. 

R. Eliezer arrested for Minuth. 

(45) T. Hull. ii. 24.— The case of K. Eliezer, who 
was arrested for Minuth, and they brought 
him to the tribunal (non, fifjua) for judgment. 
The governor (p»:n, rjyefjicov) said to him, 
'Doth an old man like thee occupy himself 
with such things ? ' He said to him, ' Faithful 
is the judge concerning me.' The governor 
supposed that he only said this of him, but 
he was not thinking of any but his Father 
who is in Heaven. He [the governor] said to 
him, 'Since I am trusted concerning thyself, 
thus also I will be. I said, perhaps these 
societies 1 err concerning these things. Ztimissus, 
Behold thou art released.' And when he had 
been released from the tribunal, he was troubled 
because he had been arrested for Minuth. His 
disciples came in to console him, but he would 
not take comfort. It. Aqiba came in and 
said to him, Rabbi, shall 1 say to thee why 
thou art perhaps grieving? He said to him, 
' Say on.' He said to him, ' Perhaps one of the 
Minim has said to thee a word of Minuth 
and it has pleased thee.' He said, 'By Heaven, 

1 Read nil^n with b. A. Zar 16 b , in place of P*W1 which makes no 


thou hast reminded me ! Once I was walking 
along the street of Sepphoris, and I met 
Jacob of Chephar Sichnin, and he said to me 
a word of Minuth in the name of Jeshu ben 
Pantiri, and it pleased me. And I was 
arrested for words of Minuth because 1 trans- 
gressed the words of Torah (Pro v. v. 8), 
Keep thy way far from her, and come not 
nigh the door of her house (vii. 26), for she hath 
cast down many wounded' And R. Eliezer 
used to say, ■ Ever let a man flee from what is 
hateful, and from that which resembles what is 
(46) b. A. Zar. 16 b , 17 a .— Our Rabbis teach, 
When R. Eliezer was arrested for Minuth 
they took him up to the tribunal (orra, 
gradus) to be judged. The governor said to 
him, 'Will an old man such as thou busy 
himself about these vain things ? ' He said, 
'Faithful is the judge concerning me.' The 
governor supposed he said this in reference to 
him ; but he only said it in regard to his 
Father in Heaven. He (the governor) said, 
• Since I am trusted concerning thee, Dimissus, 
thou art released.' When he came to his 
house his disciples came in to comfort him, 
but he would not take comfort. R. Aqiba 
said to him, ' Rabbi, suffer me to say some- 
thing of what thou hast taught me.' He 
said to him, ' Say on.' He said to him, 
'Rabbi, perhaps there has come Minuth into 
thy hand and it has pleased thee, and on 
account of that thou hast been arrested for 


Minuth.' He said to him, ■ Aqiba, thou hast 
reminded me. Once I was walking in the 
upper street of Sepphoris, and I found a man 
of the disciples of Jeshu the Nazarene, and 
Jacob of Chephar Sechanja was his name. 
He said to me, ' It is written in your Torah, 
Thou shalt not bring the hire of a harlot, etc. 
[Deut. xxiii. 18]. What may be done with 
it ? Latrinae for the high priest [may be 
built with it].' And I answered him nothing. 
He said to me, ' Thus hath Jeshu the Nazarene 
taught me, For of the hire of a harlot hath 
she gathered them, and unto the hire of a 
harlot shall they return [Micah i. 7]. From 
the place of filth they come, and unto the 
place of filth they shall go.' And the saying 
pleased me, and because of this I was arrested 
for Minuth; and I transgressed against what 
is written in the Torah [Prov. v. 8], Keep 
thy way far from her, this is Minuth ; and 
come not nigh the door of her house, this is the 

[The remainder of the passage in A. Zar. 
17 a will be given below in another connexion. 
See p. 182.] 

The same story is found in the Midrash, 
Qoh. Rabb. on i. 8, also in Jalq. Shim'oni on 
Micah i., and Prov. v. 8. These versions add 
nothing to what is contained in the above 
passages, except that (47) Qoh. Rabb. gives 
the dialogue between the Rabbi and Jacob 
more fully, as follows: — 
(47) ■ It is written in your Torah, Thou shalt not 


bring, etc., What of these?' I said to him, 
1 They are forbidden.' He said to me, ' They 
are forbidden as an offering: it is permitted 
to destroy them.' I said to him, 'If so, 
what shall one do with them?' He said to 
me, 'He shall make with them bath-houses 
and latrinae: I said to him, < Thou hast well 
said.' And the halachah was concealed from 
me for the moment. When he saw that I 
agreed with his words, he said to me, < Thus 
hath .... taught me, They come from filth 
and they go to filth, as is said [Mic. i. 7], 
For of the hire of a harlot, etc. They shall 
make seats for the public,' and it pleased me. 
For this I was arrested, etc. 
Commentary.— We have to distinguish two events 
in this story, the arrest of R. Eliezer and his inter- 
view with Jacob the Min. First as to the arrest. 
R. Eliezer lived at the end of the first and the be- 
ginning of the second century of our era; but the 
dates of his birth and death are not known. His 
usual residence was in Lud, but he travelled about 
the country. He was arrested, according to the 
story, ' for Minuth,' i.e. on a charge of being a Min. 
Rashi is certainly wrong when he says that Eliezer 
was arrested by the Minim. From the context it 
is clear that Minuth denotes the Christian heresy. 
We have therefore to inquire whether there was in 
Palestine, at a period within the lifetime of Eliezer, a 
persecution of Christians, or if not a persecution, at 
all events an official search for them. The so-called 
persecution under Nero was probably confined to 
Rome, and is besides too early in date (a.d. 64). 


It. Eliezer must have been quite a young man at 
the time. But there is mentioned in Eusebius 
(Ecc. Hist., iii. 32), on the authority of Hegesippus, 
a persecution of Christians in Palestine, during which 
Simeon the aged bishop of Jerusalem was crucified. 
This took place in the year 109, during the reign, 
therefore, of Trajan. The charge against the bishop 
was that he was of the lineage of David, and also 
that he was a Christian. Probably it was his alleged 
Davidic descent rather than his Christianity which 
brought him under the sentence of the civil tribunal. 
Because already Domitian had caused inquiry to be 
made for descendants of the ancient royal line of 
David, fearing presumably lest among them might 
be some pretender to his own throne. It does not 
appear that Simeon was the only victim, though 
doubtless he was the most eminent. Eusebius says 
(loc. cit.) that the Christians were persecuted, or 
rather sought for, Kara TroXeis, which implies a general 
search throughout the country. The popular risings, 
which are said to have accompanied the search, 
would be the expression of Gentile rather than of 
Jewish hostility to Christianity, though no doubt the 
Jews might take the opportunity of assailing Chris- 
tians, as they did in the case of Simeon, who is said 
to have been accused by certain heretics. But, on 
the whole, it was in the interest of the Jews to 
keep quiet ; because, to the Gentile mind, there was 
too much likeness between Jews and Christians to 
make it safe for the former to be conspicuous 
while the latter were being persecuted. 

It appears to me probable that the arrest and trial 
of It. Eliezer took place during this official search 


after Christians, and is therefore to be dated a.d. 109 
or thereabouts. 1 How he came to be arrested is not 
said, because the explanation which he gives, viz., 
his former close association with a Christian, was a 
fact which he himself had forgotten until his pupil 
Aqiba suggested it. Yet it is possible that some 
popular opinion connected him with the Christians ; 
and we have already seen that his Rabbinical com- 
panions, by their questions to him, seemed to have 
acted on some such suspicion (see above (4) p. 46). 
And it is curious to observe the embarrassment of 
R. Eliezer when on his trial. One would have 
thought that he could have saved himself by declaring 
that he was not a Christian, whereas he only made 
a skilful evasion, and owed his escape to the vanity 
of his judge. It is certain from all the recorded 
words of R. Eliezer, which are very numerous, that 
he was by no means a Christian ; but it is none the 
less possible that damaging facts might be brought 
against him in court, connecting him with Chris- 
tianity, so that his wisest course was to stave oft 
inquiry altogether. 

It is not stated where the arrest and trial took 
place; but it may well have happened in Cassarea, 
whither Eliezer seems to have gone after his ex- 
communication by the Rabbis of Jabneh. 2 This 

1 Note the fact that the judge calls him an old man. It is said 
(A. d. R. N., c 6) that Eliezer was twenty-two years old when he ran away 
from home to learn Torah under Johanan ben Zaccai in Jerusalem. He 
appears, from this same story, to have become a distinguished pupil, if not 
already a Rabbi, while still in Jerusalem, therefore before the war a.d. 68-70. 
He must thus have been born not later than a.d. 40, probably earlier. At 
the time of his arrest he would be about seventy years old. 

2 He died in Caesarea, and his body was brought thence to Lud. — b. Sanh. 


is to some extent borne out by the fact that the 
judge is called by the title ' hegmon ' (rjyeficov), 
which usually, I believe, implies high rank, and 
in the present instance may denote the governor 
of Syria. 

On being dismissed from the tribunal, Eliezer 
returned to his house, greatly troubled, because he 
had been accused of being a Christian. His disciples 
came in to console him, amongst them Aqiba. The 
latter suggested, as the reason why R. Eliezer had 
been arrested as a Christian, that perhaps at some 
time he had come in contact with that heresy and 
approved of it. R. Eliezer, thus reminded, recalled 
an interview he had once had with a certain Min 
called Jacob, of Chephar Sechanja, one of the 
disciples of Jesus the Nazarene. Jacob had ex- 
pounded to him a text from Scripture, and the 
interpretation pleased him. Whereupon the Chris- 
tian added that he had learnt it from Jesus the 

I do not see any reason to doubt the genuineness 
of this incident, at all events of its main features, 
although Edersheim declares it to be plainly apocry- 
phal [L. and T. of J. M., i. 537]. It may not be 
true that Jesus himself gave the rather unsavoury 
interpretation of Deut. xxiii. 18 and Mic. i. 7. And 
even if he did, it is certain that Jacob the Christian 
did not get it direct from Jesus ; because, as we have 
already seen, he belonged to the second or, perhaps, 
third generation of disciples (see above, p. 106). But 
I do not see on what ground we can reject the 
evidence of a man so well known as R. Eliezer, 
especially as it tells against himself. The story 


is well authenticated ; for, if it does not appear in 
the Palestinian Gemara, where we should naturally 
expect to meet with it, it is given in the Tosephta, 
which is not only Palestinian, but represents an older 
stratum of tradition than the Gemaras (see Intro- 
duction, p. 21). 

We have already met with Jacob of Chephar 
Sechanja, or Ch. Sama (see above, p. 106), and we 
have to inquire when the interview between him and 
Eliezer took place. The data are few and inade- 
quate. 1 From the way in which R. Eliezer begins 
the story, " Once on a time [nna Dya] I was walking, 
etc.," it would seem as if the incident had taken place 
some years before. At least that is always the im- 
pression made on my mind by the story. Gratz 
(G. d. J., iv. 47 fol.) associates the incident much 
more closely with the subsequent arrest and trial. 
He says that by reason of his intercourse with 
Christians R. Eliezer was looked upon as a member 
of the Christian community, and therefore accused 
as a heretic. The only objection that I see to this 
view is, that if R. Eliezer had met Jacob only a short 
time previously, he would scarcely have forgotten 
the incident. Also, Aqiba reminds his teacher of 
what he had been told on a former occasion. Still, 
these facts do not exclude the possibility of a com- 

1 It is probable that the interview with Jacob the Min took place after 
Eliezer had been excommunicated. Before his excommunication he appears 
to have lived in Jabneh or Lud, and the interview took place in Sepphoris. 
Moreover, a banished man would be more likely to venture upon intercourse 
with a heretic than one who was in close fellowship with the Rabbis. From 
the account of his excommunication, b. B. Mez. 59 b , it appears that this 
took place shortly before R. Gamliel started on his voyage to Rome, there- 
fore in or about the year 95 a.d. 


paratively short interval only — perhaps a few months 
or a year or two — between the interview with Jacob 
and the arrest of R. Eliezer. And a short interval 
suits the chronology better. For we have already 
seen reason to believe that this same Jacob of 
Chephar Sechanja was living in Galilee a.d. 130, thus 
twenty years after the arrest of Eliezer. We cannot, 
therefore, safely set back the earlier date much 
beyond a.d. 110. It is possible, of course, but it is 
not likely, that there were two persons each known 
as Jacob of Chephar Sechanja. 

As to the conversation between the Christian and 
the Rabbi, the interpretation of the texts quoted has 
nothing that is characteristic of Jesus as he is known 
from the Gospels. 1 It is evidently a thoroughly 
Jewish exposition, and therefore pleased the Rabbi ; 
there were Jewish Christians in plenty who adhered 
to Rabbinical modes of thought and exposition ; and 
seeing that Jacob was most certainly not a con- 
temporary of Jesus, his statement, ' thus hath Jesus 
taught me,' means no more than that 'such is 
current Christian teaching.' Whether there is any 
parallel to this interpretation in any Jewish- Christian 
work I do not know. 

1 Friedlander (der Vorchristliche jiidische Gnosticismus, p. 74) rightly 
points out that there is nothing Christian in the exposition of Jacob, and 
accordingly claims the fact in support of his theory that Jacob was not a 
Christian but a Gnostic. But he has most strangely ignored the words — 
very inconvenient for his theory — 'thus hath Jesus the Nazarene taught 
me, 5 whereby Jacob the Min puts the fact of his Christianity beyond 
dispute. Friedlander has much scorn for those shallow interpreters 
who hold that the Minim are Jewish Christians. Until he deals with 
his evidence more carefully, not to say more honestly, his scorn is 
hardly justified. 




Under this head I collect all the passages I can 
find in which reference is made to heretical writings, 
and their treatment by Jews. 

Imma Shalom and a Christian Judge 

(48) b. Shabb. 116% b . — Imma Shalom was the wife 
of It. Eliezer and sister of Rabban Gamliel. 
There was in her neighbourhood a ' philosoph,' 
who had got a name for not taking a bribe. 
They sought to make fun of him. She 
[Imma Shalom] sent to him a lamp of gold. 
They came before him. She said to him, ' I 
desire that they divide to me the property of 
the women's house.' He said to them, ' Divide 
it.' They said to him, * For us, it is written, 
"Where there is a son, a daughter does not 
inherit." He said to them, 'From the day 
when ye were exiled from your land, the Law 
of Moses has been taken away, and the law 
of the Evangelion has been given, and in it 
is written, " A son and a daughter shall inherit 
alike." ' The next day he [R. Gamliel] in his 
turn sent to him a Lybian ass. He [the 
judge] said to them, 'I have looked further 
to the end of the book, and in it is written, 
"I am not come to take away from the 
Law of Moses and I am not come to add to 
the Law of Moses," and in it [the Law of 
Moses] is written, " Where there is a son, 
a daughter does not inherit."' She said to 


him, ' Let your light shine as a lamp ! ' R. 

Gamliel said to her, ' The ass has come and 

trodden out the lamp.' 
Commentary. — This striking story only occurs, 
so far as I know, in the Babylonian Gemara, and, 
therefore, is open to suspicion from the want of con- 
temporary evidence. On the other hand there seems 
no reason to account for its being invented, if there 
were no historical fact at the bottom of it. The 
story may well have been told as a family anecdote 
by the descendants of R. Gamliel, and have been 
repeated in Babylonia by Rab, who transplanted 
thither so many of the Palestinian traditions, and 
whose teacher was R. Jehudah, grandson of R. 
Gamliel. In the Gemara the story is tacked on to 
a passage dealing with written scrolls and especi- 
ally with heretical writings ; but there is not a 
word of introduction to say on whose authority it 
was told. The preceding passage will be given 
presently ; I have placed the story here, because 
the incident which it records carries us back to 
an earlier date than other references to heretical 

The R. Eliezer is the same whom we have already 
several times met with. Rabban Gamliel is Gamliel 
of Jabneh, under whose direction the formula con- 
cerning the Minim was arranged [see above, p. 127]. 
The incident took place, therefore, within the closing 
years of the first or the opening of the second century. 
The place was probably Jabneh. 

As the purpose of Gamliel and his sister was to 
expose the judge to ridicule, it is hardly likely that 
they would appeal to him to decide a real difference. 


In a very interesting discussion of this story, 1 Nichol- 
son argues that the Rabbi and his sister found a 
pretext for their law-suit in the death of their father 
Shim'on, and the consequent inheritance of his pro- 
perty. This may be so ; but if there were no real 
dispute (and it is evident there was not), the case 
might have been trumped up at any time. Nicholson 
gives a.d 71-3 as the probable date; and the best 
evidence for so early a date is the saying of the judge, 
" From the day that ye were exiled from your land," 
which can only refer to the confiscation of Jewish 
property in a.d. 72. I do not see much force in the 
contention that R. Gamliel would not have conde- 
scended to such a trick as that described in the story, 
after he had become president of the Sanhedrin. 
That dignity was probably but little known or recog- 
nised outside of Jewish circles. Still we may admit 
that the conduct of R. Gamliel and his sister was 
more appropriate to youth than to maturer years, and 
therefore we may accept the date a.d. 71-3 as being 
on the whole probable. 

The judge is called a ' philosoph,' and there is no 
reason to read some form of ' episcopos,' as is proposed 
by Lowe (quoted by Nicholson, op. cit, p. 146). 
The term ' philosoph ' or ' philosophos ' occurs several 
times in the Talmud, and seems to denote a trained 
speaker. It is quite likely that in the present case 
the * philosoph ' was a bishop ; but the term ' philo- 
soph' has nothing ecclesiastical about it. So far as I 
know, there is no attempt in the Talmud to reproduce 
the term ■ episcopos ' in a Hebrew form. The judge, 
whether bishop or not, was probably a Jewish not a 

1 See The Gospel According to the Hebrews, by E. B. Nicholson, p. 146 n. 


Gentile Christian. That he was a Christian is beyond 
question, seeing that he based his decision on a 
quotation from a Gospel. R. Gamliel would not be 
likely to play a trick on a Gentile judge; and a 
Gentile judge would scarcely have appealed to a 
Gospel in a Jewish suit. He would have decided the 
case on the lines of Roman law. 

Now let us examine the details of the story in 
order. Imma Shalom, 1 the sister of R. Gamliel, and 
wife of R. Eliezer, applied to the court to divide for 
her ' the property of the women's house,' in other 
words to give to her the share in her father's property 
which she ought to bring to her husband at her mar- 
riage. R. Gamliel pleaded against this, that his sister 
had no title to any part of her father's property, 
because he, as son, inherited it all. He supported his 
plea by an appeal to the Law of Moses, though the 
words which he cited do riot occur in the Pentateuch. 
His plea is an inference based upon Num. xxvii. 8. 
The judge, mindful of the bribe he had received from 
the complainant, decided against the defendant, on 
the ground that the Law of Moses had been super- 
seded by the law ' of the Evangelion,' according to 
which a son and daughter inherit alike. I believe 
that ■ of the Evangelion ' is the right reading in this 
passage ; but at the same time I doubt whether the 
judge actually used the term. We shall see presently 
(p. 162) that R. Meir and R. Johanan, in the second 
and third centuries, made jests on the word Evan- 
gelion ; and since the story, as we have it, was written 
down long after their time, it is not safe to conclude 
that the term ■ Evangelion ' was known and used as 

1 Imma Shalom, i.e. Mother Salome. 


early as a.d. 72. Jesus must have used some 
Aramaic term, at least if he used any equivalent 
word at all ; and it would be natural to expect that a 
Jewish Christian, in speaking to Jews, would also 
have used the Aramaic term rather than the Greek 
equivalent. I regard the words ' of the Evangelion ' 
as a later gloss, though earlier than the written text 
of the Talmud. 

There is no passage in any known Gospel which 
states that a son and daughter shall inherit alike. 
Unless some text, hereafter to be discovered, shall 
furnish a parallel, we can only regard the statement 
as a general inference from Christian principles. It is 
worth noting, by the way, that if there were such a rule 
of Christian practice, the state of things described in 
Acts iv. 32-37 had already ceased to exist in the year 72. 

The sentence of the court having been given against 
him, It. Gamliel so to speak applied for a new 
trial by sending a bribe to the judge, a present 
of a Lybian ass. The next day, accordingly, the 
judge had reconsidered his decision. He said, 'I 
have read further in the end of the book, and therein 
it is written, " I am not come to take away from the 
Law of Moses, neither to add to the Law of Moses 
am I come," and in it [the Law of Moses] it is written, 
" where there is a son, a daughter does not inherit." ' 
There is an obvious parallel here with Matt. v. 17, 
though the quotation is not exact. It would be too 
much to infer from this that the present Gospel of 
Matthew was in existence at this time. But it seems 
probable that the judge had some written text, and 
was not merely quoting from memory. If there had 
at the time been no written text at all, it would not 


have occurred to the judge to say that he had • read 
in the book." If he had had some collection of ' Logia,' 
such as that of which a fragment was published by 
Rendell and Harris in 1897, he would have had as 
much as the story implies. Indeed, a collection of 
6 Logia,' sayings of Jesus, would better come under 
the description of a ' new law ' than would any work 
in the fuller form of one of the known Gospels. It is 
evident that the book, whatever it was, did not pre- 
sent the sayings of Jesus in anything like the same 
order as is found in the canonical Gospel of Matthew. 
For the words, / am not come to destroy but to fulfil, 
occur near the beginning of the Sermon on the 
Mount [Matt. v. 17], and far from the end of the 
Gospel. The • Logia ' fragment, already referred to, 
shows, where comparison is possible, an arrangement 
differing from that of any of the canonical Gospels. 
There is nothing improbable in supposing the exis- 
tence of written collections of Logia in the year 72. 
It has been well suggested by J. E. Odgers (Jewish 
Quarterly Review, 1891, p. 16), that the first impulse 
to the writing down of the sayings of Jesus was given 
by the dispersion of the Christian community in 
Jerusalem, owing to the siege of the city, a.d. 69-70. 
The Christians did not all take refuge in Pella, as the 
presence of the Christian in the story plainly shows ; 
and written * Logia ' may well — we may almost say 
must — have found their way to other places, includ- 
ing Jabneh, the probable scene of the story. 

The reversal of the sentence naturally disappointed 
the original complainant, and she gave the judge a 
significant reminder of her present in the words, 
" Let your light shine as a lamp." Here, also, there 


seems to be a partial reference to a text now found in 
Matt. v. 16, 1 " Let your light shine before men." 
How the Jewess came to know the words, unless by 
report, is not easy to see ; as it is not very likely, on 
the face of it, that she would read a Christian writing. 
The retort is so apt, that we cannot suppose it to 
have been merely invented, with no knowledge of the 
words of Jesus. By quoting them she convicted the 
judge out of his own law, as well as reminded him of 
the bribe he had taken. 

R. Gamliel, the successful pleader, made rejoinder 
in a curious saying, which may have been a popular 
proverb, but which also may have been his own 
original remark, " The ass has come and trodden out 
the lamp." The meaning of the retort is obvious, 
and equally so its purpose in exposing the shameless 
venality of the judge. But just as the retort, " Let 
your light shine," was aimed at more than the mere 
fact of bribery, and had a sting for the Christian as a 
Christian, so perhaps it may be in the case of the 
saying about the ass and the lamp. The phrase 
occurs elsewhere, and a brief study of the subject 
may throw some light on a very obscure but not 
unimportant point. 

The phrase is found in Pesiqta de Rab Kahana 
122 b , also in j. Joma 38 c , Vajiqr. r. c. 21. In all 
these cases the phrase is used to describe the frustra- 
tion of one bribe by a larger bribe from the opposite 
party in a suit. The passage in Pesiqta is more 
detailed than the others, and is as follows : — " The 
case of a certain woman who presented to a judge a 
lamp of silver ; but her opponent went and presented 

1 In fact Matt. v. 15, 16, and 17 seem to underlie the story. 


to him an ass of gold. On the morrow the woman 
came and found the judgment reversed. She said, 
' My lord, let justice shine before thee like a silver 
lamp.' He said to her, 'What shall I do for thee ? 
The ass has trodden out the lamp.' " 

Bacher (Ag. d. Pal. Amor., ii. 424 n.) holds that 
this story is founded upon the story of Imma 
Shalom and R. Gamliel. And I think he is right 
in this opinion, even though the Pesiqta should be, 
as it possibly is, earlier in date than the completion 
of the Babylonian Gemara. At all events the 
evidence of the Pesiqta places the story on 
Palestinian ground. If we may conclude that the 
phrase originated with Gamliel, then we are free to 
inquire whether there is anything significant in the 
mention of a lamp and an ass as the bribes to the 
judge. It is, of course, easy to discover symbolism 
where none is intended; and quite possibly the ass 
and the lamp were costly gifts and nothing more. 
But there is evidence elsewhere to show that there 
was some obscure connexion in thought between 
Jesus and an ass, so that the latter served as a kind 
of symbol of the former. In the Midrash Qoh. r. 
on i. 8, a passage which will be given below (see p. 
211 if.), R. Jehoshua b. Hananiah says to his nephew, 
who had been led astray by the Minim of Caper- 
naum and rescued from them, " Since the ass of 
that wicked one is roused against thee, thou canst 
no longer dwell in the land of Israel," etc. The 
plain meaning is that the young man had been 
damaged in character and repute by contact with 
Christianity; and this would hardly have been 
described by a metaphor so peculiar unless there was 


an implied reference to Jesus in the mention of 
the ass. 1 What may have suggested this reference 
I cannot positively say. But possibly it is an 
allusion to the alleged Messianic dignity of Jesus. 
In Ber. r. c. 75 § 6, it is explained that the ass is 
a symbol of the Messiah. And the passage just 
quoted from Qoh. r. i. 8 tends to confirm this 
suggestion, because the young apostate had been 
made by the Christians to ride on an ass on the 
Sabbath. These are nothing more than slight and 
obscure hints, and there may be nothing in them ; 
but they are worth collecting and recording, on the 
chance that their meaning may be more clearly 
understood in the light of future researches. 

If there really was, in contemporary thought, some 
association of an ass with Jesus, then the story of 
R. Gamliel and his bribe to the judge gains additional 
point. The object of the whole plot was to expose 
the venality of this Jewish Christian, by bribing him 
to alter his own decision. The rectitude of the Jew 
had been corrupted by the spirit of Christianity, the 

1 In this connexion may be mentioned the caricature found on a wall in 
Rome, where there is shown a crucified figure having an ass's head ; a 
soldier kneels before the cross, and underneath is written, " Alexamenos 
worshipping his God." This brutal parody of Christian belief evidently 
shows that in the mind of the ' artist ' there was an association of Jesus with 
an ass. The charge of worshipping an ass was brought against the Jews, as 
is shown by the well-known passages in Josephus (c. Apion, ii. 7) and 
Tacitus (Hist., v. 3, 4). The Jews in their turn tried to pass it on to the 
Christians. See an article by Rbsch, on the Caput asininum, in the Stud. u. 
Kritik., 1882, p. 523, where the origin and development of this fable are 
described. Rosch makes no mention of the Rabbinical allusions, though he 
refers to the Talmud for another purpose. I think the passages mentioned 
in the text may fairly be connected with the fable of the ass-worship. 

For another possible reference to the association of Jesus with an ass, see 
below, p. 224 n. 


light of the true religion had been extinguished by 
a mischievous heresy, and the witty Rabbi expressed 
both these facts by saying, " The ass has come and 
trodden out the lanip." 

How the Books of the Minim are to 
be Treated 

(49) T. Shabb. xiii. 5. — The margins 1 and books 
of the Minim they do not save, but these are 
burnt in their place, they and their ' memorials ' 
[i.e. the sacred names in the text]. It. Jose' 
the Galilean says, 'On a week-day one cuts 
out the memorials and hides them and burns 
the rest.' R. Tarphon said, ' May I lose 
my son ! if they come into my hand I would 
burn them and their memorials too. If the 
pursuer were pursuing after me, I would 
enter into a house of idolatry, and I enter 
not into their houses. For the idolaters do 
not acknowledge Him [i.e. God] and speak 

1 The word f 1 vJ means the unwritten portion of a book, the margin. But, 
as in modern books, the margins of ancient MSS. were used for annotations ; 
and it is reasonable to suppose that these annotations would include texts of 
Scripture, quoted as illustrations. Hence the question would arise whether, 
although the corpus of the book was heretical, the marginal citations of 
Scripture were to be regarded as sacred. Jost (Gsch. d. Jdtums. ii. 40 n.) 
says that JV?3 (giljon) plainly denotes ' evangelion ' in the passage before 
us. No doubt the Gospels are included amongst the ' Books of the Minim ' ; 
but I do not think it can be shown that 'giljon' by itself ever means a 
Gospel. If that were the case, there would be the less occasion for the 
plays on the word ' Aven-giljon ' and ■ Avon-giljon ' which will be mentioned 
below (s. p. 162). Friedlander (d. Vorchr. jiid. Gnosticismus, p. 83 fol.) 
identifies the ' giljonim ' of the Minim with the Diagramma of the Ophite 
sect of the Gnostics. This may be correct ; but as the Talmud never gives 
any indication of what the ■ giljonim ' contained beyond * memorials,' the 
guess is hazardous. 


falsely concerning Him ; but these [i.e. the 
Minim] do acknowledge Him and speak falsely 
concerning Him. And concerning them the 
Scripture says [Isa. lvii. 8], And behind the 
door and the door-post thou Jiast set thy 
memorial. 1 R. Ishmael said, ' Whereas, in 
order to make peace between a man and his 
wife, God says [cp. Num. v. 23], Let my name 
which is written in holiness be blotted out in 
water, how much more the books of the 
Minim, which put enmity and jealousy and 
strife between Israel and their Father who is 
in Heaven, should be blotted out, and their 
memorials too. And concerning them the 
Scripture says [Ps. cxxxix. 21], Do I not hate 
them, O Lord, which hate thee, and I loathe 
them that rise up against thee. I hate them 
with a perfect hatred, and they have become to 
me as enemies' And even as men do not 
save them [the books] from burning, so they 
do not save them from falling, nor from water, 
nor from anything which destroys them. 
(50) (51) No important variation. See Appendix. 
Commentary. The Rabbis whose words are cited 
here lived in the early part of the second century. 
Tarphon 1 is well known as a bitter opponent of 
Christianity. Ishmael is the same whom we have 

1 Tarphon is often identified with Tryphon, the interlocutor in Justin 
Martyr's Dialogue. Beyond some resemblance of name, there is little, if 
anything, on which to found such identification. It is possible that Justin 
may have heard of, or perhaps even met, Tarphon, though certainly not in 
Ephesus. But no one who knows Tarphon in the Talmud would recognise 
him in the feeble Jew who serves Justin as a man of straw. Tarphon, not 
Tryphon, is the proper form of the name. 


previously seen, protesting against the cure of his 
nephew by a Christian doctor. It is evident then, 
from their strong denunciations, that the Books of 
the Minim included Christian writings. But the 
phrase is indefinite, and cannot be fairly restricted to 
writings explanatory of the Christian religion. We 
shall see, in another passage (p. 158), that copies of 
the Hebrew Scriptures were sometimes written by 
Minim, in the ordinary way of business, and the 
question arose whether such copies might be used 
by Jews. In the present passage that question is 
not directly raised ; but one of the difficulties which 
it suggested is mentioned, viz., the fact that in 
heretical writings the name of God often occurred, 
whereby the reader was placed in the dilemma of 
having either to destroy the divine Name along with 
the book, or to preserve the heretical book for the 
sake of the divine Name. It. Jose the Galilean 
enjoins the quaint device of cutting out * and keeping 
the divine Name wherever it occurred, and burning 
the rest. What was to be done with the collected 
scraps is not said. R. Tarphon and It. Ishmael 
were at least consistent, in deciding that heretical 
books were to be destroyed, no matter what they 

Books of the Law written by Minim 

(52) b. Gitt. 45 b . — Rab Bodia said to Rab Ashi, 
1 " At more than their price," this is why " they 
do not receive them." At their price they do 

1 1 follow here the reading of the Vienna Codex, and the early printed 
text, also Siphre, p. 6 a , as against the Erfurt Codex, which has instead of 
TNpi K"rtp, i.e. ' reads ' the name instead of ' cuts out ' the name. 


receive them.' Learn from this, that one may 
read in a Book of the Law which is found in 
the hand of an idolater. Ought it, perhaps, to 
be concealed ? Rab Nahman said, • We have 
received [tradition] that a Book of the Law, if 
written by a Min, is to be burnt ; if written by 
an idolater, it is to be concealed.' If found in 
the hand of a Min, it is to be concealed ; if 
found in the hand of an idolater, some say it 
is to be concealed, some say it may be read. 
[In regard to] a Book of the Law written by 
an idolater, one [teacher] teaches that it is to 
be burnt, another [tradition] is that it is to be 
concealed, and another that it may be read. 
There is no contradiction. 
Commentary, — Apart from the difficulties in con- 
nexion with books written by Minim for their own 
use, there was the difficulty of deciding whether a 
book of the law might be used if written by, or found 
in the possession of, some one other than a Jew. Such 
a book might have been written in order to be sold to 
Jews for their own use. Or, if found in the posses- 
sion of a non-Jewish person, it might still have been 
written by a Jew, and therefore might be lawful for a 
Jew to use. The text in the Mishnah, of which the 
passage before us is the commentary, says, " We do not 
receive books, tephillin, 1 and mezuzoth 2 from idolaters 
at more than their price." R. Bodia explains, what is 
surely obvious, that books, etc., might be received from 

1 Tephillin, phylacteries, small parchment boxes, containing certain texts, 
and worn on the arm and the head. 

2 Mezuzoth, similar small boxes, containing texts, but fastened to the door- 
post of the house. Mezuzoth may be called the ' tephillin ' of the house. 


idolaters, only that more than their proper price must 
not be given for them. As a contemporary of R. 
Ashi (the editor of the Babylonian Gemara), R. 
Bodia lived at the end of the fourth century or the 
beginning of the fifth. R. Nahman, whose explana- 
tion is more to the purpose, is Nahman bar Jacob, a 
Babylonian teacher who died a.d. 300. x A clear 
distinction is made between an idolater and a Min, in 
deciding how to deal with books of the law whose 
origin was doubtful. It should be noticed that the 
Mishnah text does not say anything about Minim in 
this connexion. The distinction is made against the 
Min and in favour of the idolater. The Min is not in 
this case necessarily a Christian, but is certainly a 
Jewish heretic. Therefore a book written by a Min 
was condemned outright, and must be burnt. If 
found in his possession, even though it might have 
been written by a Jew, it was considered as tainted 
with heresy, and must be ' concealed,' i.e. withdrawn 
from use, treated as an Apocryphon. On the other 
hand, a book if written by an idolater must be 
6 concealed ' ; but, if found in his possession, according 
to some authorities it must be ' concealed,' according 
to others it might be used. 

A few lines further down on the same page of the 
Talmud (b. Gitt. 45 b ) are two more references to 
Minim. I do not translate the whole passage, because 
it is chiefly taken up with technical questions having 
no bearing on the subject of heresy ; and, further, it is 
exceedingly difficult to render into intelligible English. 
The first reference occurs in a dictum of R. Hamnuna, 

1 He received several Palestinian traditions from R. Jitzhaq, a disciple of 
R. Johanan, who visited him in Nehardea. 



son of Raba of Parshunia. He says, ' Rolls of the 
Law, tephillin and mezuzoth, written by a Min, a 
betrayer, an idolater, a slave, a woman, a child, a 
Samaritan or an apostate Israelite, are ceremonially 
unfit for use ' ( |fa* ). This also occurs b. Men. 42 b . 
The second reference is merely the following : — " Con- 
cerning a proselyte who reverts to his wickedness : [he 
will revert] to his wickedness much more if he be a 

These references are added merely to make the list 
of references to Minim as complete as possible. They 
are of very late date, and add nothing new to what is 
contained in other more important passages. 

The Books of the Minim do not Defile the 


(53) T. Jad. ii. 13.— The rolls and books of the 
Minim do not defile the hands. 

The books of Ben Sira and all books which 
have been written from that time onward do 
not defile the hands. 
Commentary. — There is hardly anything to be said 
on this passage, which is a mere statement that the 
books of the Minim are not to be regarded as sacred. 
It may seem strange that such a statement should be 
necessary, especially in view of such denunciations of 
them as those uttered by R. Tarphon and R. Ishmael 
(see above, pp. 154-5). The reason probably is, that 
the books of the Minim, though heretical, made 
mention of sacred names and things, and might there- 
fore be supposed to be themselves holy. 

It is remarkable that the Mishnah does not mention 


the books of the Minim either in the parallel passage 
M. Jad. iii. 5, or, so far as I know, in any other 
place. The 'external books' referred to in M. 
Sanh. x. i. are understood by the commentators to be, 
or to include, the books of the Minim ; but they are 
not so called in the Mishnah. 

On the same page of T. Jadaim, a few lines below 
the passage just cited, there is an apparent reference 
to Minim which ought to be noticed, if only to guard 
the reader from a mistake, and myself from a charge 
of omitting an important passage. Mention is there 
made (ii. 16) of p»D nir^n, 'halachoth concerning the 
Minim ' ; and for some time I was under the delusion 
that the reference was to ordinances concerning 
heretics, made at Jabneh. A comparison, however, 
with j. Bice. iii. 6 (p. 65 d ) shows conclusively that 
the word p»» denotes here not ' heretics,' but simply 
' kinds ' or • sorts,' and the reference is to the seven 
' kinds ' of fruit for which Palestine was famous. The 
word po is a common noun as well as a proper noun ; 
and to a non-Jewish reader it is not always easy 
to distinguish between the two usages. (See below, 
p. 364). 

The Books of the Be Abidan (and Be 

(54) b. Shabb. 116 a . — R. Joseph bar Hanin asked 

R. Abahu : ' Those books of the Be Abidan, 

does one save them from burning or not ? ' 

Yes and no ; he was undecided. Rab did not 

go to the Be Abidan, much less to the Be 

Nitzraphi. Shemuel did not go to the Be 

Nitzraphi ; but he did go to the Be Abidan. 



They said to Rab, ' What is the reason thou 
didst not come to the Be Abldan ? ' He said 
to them, ■ There is a certain palm tree by the 
road, and it is an offence to me ; if it were 
uprooted, the place of it would be an offence 
to me.' Mar bar Joseph said, 'I have been 
amongst them, and I was not respected by 
them.' On one occasion he went and they 
sought to endanger him. It. Meir called it 
Aven giljon, It. Johanan called it Avon 
Commentary, — This passage forms part of a longer 
one, of which we have already examined two portions. 
It follows immediately after No. (51) and immediately 
precedes (48) ; I have broken it up for convenience of 
treatment. It obviously comes under the general 
head of 'Books of the Minim,' but the portion at 
present under examination is interesting on its own 
account, because it mentions the Be Abldan and the 
Be Nitzraphi. These are of sufficient importance to 
be treated separately. And having in the previous 
sections dealt with all the passages that I know of 
which refer to the Books of the Minim, I shall present 
here those which mention the Be Abidan and the Be 
Nitzraphi. What these names mean is not certain, 
and I shall endeavour to explain them presently. 
Meanwhile I will consider the rest of the passage. 

It. Abahu we have already met with (see above, 
No. 10). He lived in Caesarea at the end of the third 
and beginning of the fourth century. This is evidence 
that the question put to him referred to things in 
Palestine. The printed text in the modern editions 
give the name of his questioner as Joseph bar Hanin, 


and this is correct, although the Munich MS. gives 
6 Joseph bar Hama.' The latter, the father of Raba, 
was a Babylonian, who, so far as I know, never came 
in contact with Abahu. Joseph bar Hanin, or 
Hanina, was the teacher of Abahu ; his name in this 
passage is vouched for by the Oxford MS. See 
Rabbinowicz, ad loc. Mar bar Joseph, if the reading 
be correct, would be the son of Joseph b. Hanin. 
Whatever the books of the Be Abldan may have 
been, it is clear that they included books which were 
heretical, and distinctly Christian. That they were 
heretical is shown by the context, because the books 
of the Minim have just been mentioned (see No 51). 
And that they were Christian is shown unmistakably 
by the concluding words, which contain plays upon the 
name Evangelion. This concluding sentence is not 
found in the modern editions, but is contained in the 
MSS. and early editions, and is here given on the 
authority of Rabbinowicz. Probably both witticisms 
are reported by R. Abahu, who was a disciple of R. 
Johanan, the author of one of them. And R. Johanan 
must have been aware of the saying of R. Meir, since 
his own jest is only a variation of the older one. 
' Aven giljon' means 'a worthless thing of a book 
[roll],' or, since ■ Aven ' in the O.T. generally has some 
reference to idolatry, 'a book of idolatry.' In 
like manner Avon giljon may be rendered 'a book 
of iniquity.' R. Meir, to whom belongs the credit of 
the original jeu (T esprit, lived in Palestine in the latter 
half of the second century. His teachers were R. 
Aqiba, whom we have already met with as a fierce 
opponent of Christianity, and Elisha ben Abuja, him- 
self inclined to heresy, and well acquainted with the 


books of the Minim. The gibe of R. Meir is clear 
proof that in his time the term Evangelion was in 
common use, and we may perhaps conclude from the 
passage before us that it was a generic term for the 
6 Books of the Minim,' or, at all events, that it in- 
cluded more than one book. After referring to 
'books' in the plural, the passage reads, 'R. Meir 
called it Aven giljon.' I have already (p. 149) pointed 
out that the use of the word Evangelion in the story 
of R. Gamliel and the Christian judge (a passage which 
forms the continuation of the one at present under 
examination) is probably a later gloss. It would at 
all events be unsafe to rely upon its authenticity in 
that story. 

Now what are the ' Be Abidan ' and ' Be Nitz- 
raphi ' ? ' Be ' is a shortened form of Beth, house. 
Neither ■ Abidan ' nor ' Nitzraphi ' are regular 
Aramaic, still less Hebrew, words. They are hybrids, 
and contain some polemic allusion. 'Abidan' is 
apparently connected with the root 'abad' (m«), to 
destroy, and both form and derivation may be com- 
pared with 5 A/3a8So>i/ (Rev. ix. 11). Nitzraphi [the 
vocalization is uncertain] is almost certainly con- 
nected with the word Notzri, Nazarene, while the 
form suggests a niph'al from the root tzaraph (*ps), to 
unite. It is tempting to infer for Be Nitzraphi the 
meaning 'house where Nazarenes assemble.' And 
whether or not this be the intention of the inventor 
of the word, it suits the sense in the few passages 
where the word occurs. These passages I will intro- 
duce here, so that we may have all the available 
evidence for an answer to one of the minor prob- 
lems of the Talmud. In addition to the passage 


already translated, we have the following, which 
I will translate successively and comment on to- 
gether : — 

(55) b. Shabb. 152 a . — Caesar said to R. Jehoshua 
ben Hananjah, ' What is the reason that thou 
comest not to the Be Abidan ? ' He said to 
him, 'The mountain is covered with snow 
[my head is white, I am too old], its slopes 
are frozen [my beard is white], its dogs do 
not bark [my voice is feeble], its grinders do 
not grind [my teeth are gone].' 

(56) b. A. Zar. 17 b .— They said to him [El'azar 
ben Perata], 'What is the reason that thou 
comest not to the Be Abidan ? ' He said to 
them, ' I have become an old man, and I am 
afraid lest ye should trample me with your 

(57) b. Erub. 79 b , 80 a .— What is an Asherah in 
general? Rab said, 'Every [tree] which 
priests guard and do not taste of its fruits.' 
And Shemuel said, 'Like those who say, 
These dates are for the wine of the Be 
Nitzraphi, which they drink on the day of 
their feast.' 

[b. A. Zar. 48 a has substantially the same.] 
These are, so far as I know, all the passages 
which mention either the ' Be Abidan ' or the ' Be 
Nitzraphi.' Whatever these places were, it is plain 
that they were to be found in Palestine. This is shown 
by the fact that all the Rabbis mentioned in the fore- 
going passages lived in Palestine during the whole or 
part of their lives. The extraordinary explanation 
of Hamburger (R. Encykl., ii. 95, 96) may therefore 


be dismissed, viz. that 'Be Abidan' is Bezabde, a 
town on the west side of the Tigris, and 'Be 
Nitzraphi ' is Nicephorium on the Euphrates ! Why- 
should R. Jehoshua ben Hananiah, who never was 
in Babylonia in his life, be taken to task because he 
had not gone to Bezabde on the Tigris ? And was it 
only in these two remote and little known cities that, 
as Hamburger says, "theological disputations were 
held between Ormuzd priests, Christians and Jews ? " 

Jost (Gsch. d. Jdtums., ii. 40 n.) says that the term 
4 Be Abidan ' belongs to the Persian time, and means 
place of assemblage. But why should a Persian word 
be used to describe an institution which R. Jehoshua 
ben Hananiah and R. El'azar ben Perata, both 
Palestinians of the second century, were in a position 
to attend ? Jost seems to feel some doubt of his own 
assertion, for he adds the suggestion that perhaps 
• Be Abidan ' is a corruption of ' Be Ebionim ' (house 
of the poor). This is better, but scarcely convincing. 
His suggestion that Be Nitzraphi is a corruption of 
1 Be Nitzranin ' (pnva I pvu) is unintelligible to 
me ; perhaps it involves a printer's error. 

I have not been able to discover that Gratz in his 
history makes any allusion to either of the two names, 
still less gives any explanation of them. Nor, so far 
as I know, does Bacher explain them in his three 
works on the Agada. 1 I have not found anything 
bearing on the subject in Weiss' G. d. j. T. Levy 
(N. H. W., i. p. 8) suggests that p™ may be con- 

1 The only reference, so far as I know, made by Bacher, is in A. d. Pal. 
Am., ii. 97, n. 4, where he says, that the meaning of Be Abidan has never 
yet been explained, but that in any case the ' Books of the B. Abidan ' are 
equivalent to the ' Books of the Minim,' so far as Abahu is concerned. 


nected with pT3j which is the rendering in the 
Targums of the Gk. ttvOmv (ventriloquist, fortune- 
teller). Such persons, he says, were seldom, in the 
later Grecian period, absent from popular merry- 
makings, and might have been conspicuous in a place 
of public debate. Yet something more serious is 
surely implied than this ; an Emperor would hardly 
ask an eminent Rabbi why he had not come to listen 
to a ventriloquist; nor would it be carefully noted 
that some Rabbis did, and some did not, go to the 
place where such persons were to be met with. It 
should be noted also (as Levy admits) that the word 
irvOoiv is rendered in the Mishnah by mrva (Sanh. 
vii. 7). 

I venture to suggest that (Be) Abldan represents 
the word coSeiov, odeum, a species of theatre for 
musical performances, frequently used as a law-court 
or as a place for philosophical disputations} Such 
buildings were erected in several of the cities of 
Palestine, 2 as is shown by the existing ruins (see 
Schurer, G. d. J. VoJkes, ii. 24, and elsewhere). 
Hadrian built one in Rome, and of course the original 
'QiSeZov was in Athens. Now there are various 
accounts in the Talmud and Midrash of disputations 
between R. Jehoshua ben Hananiah, the Emperor 
Hadrian, and ' the men of the Be Athina,' i.e. literally 
the 'House of Athens' (see b. Bechor. 8 b , Qoh. 

1 €i 5e <f>-f)(rei ris '6ri Z6%av ovtoi Kal ti/xos l^peuov, iirl robs <ro<pobs i\de teal ras 
ffocf>as 'A6T)vr)<n <rx<>\as Kal Siarptfids' avaircfjaraffai ras iv Aujeefy ras iv'AKaSruxla, 
tV Stooi/, rb Ila\\d$iov, rb 'HSeToy. (Plut. De ExiL, p. 602 B.) 

2 Gratz (G. d. J., iv. 313 n.) quotes from Malala (Histor., x. p. 261) the 
following words, showing that Vespasian built an Odeum in Caesarea : — 

Centre yap Kal iv Kai(rapela £k rrjs 'lovdaiKrjs irpaiSas 6 avrbs 

Ovc<rira<Tiav6s <^St?ov peya iravv Qtdrpov %x ov SidffrTifia fieya ovros Kal avrov rod 
t6ttov trp<#i)v ffvvaydyrjs rav 'lovSaiwv. 


r. i. 7, and elsewhere). It is not recorded that R. 
Jehoshua was ever in Athens ; but he visited Rome 
(see below, p. 228), where there was an 'ABiqvaiov 
founded by Hadrian. The Athenaeum was not the 
same as the Odeum ; but in both institutions philo- 
sophical disputations were held, and a Jew would not 
be likely to make any careful distinction between the 
two. May not the debates between R. Jehoshua and 
the men of the ■ Be Athina ' represent what really 
took place in an Odeum, either in Palestine or 
Alexandria ? The Rabbis living in Palestine must 
certainly have heard and known the name cpSeiov in 
the common speech of the Greek inhabitants of the 
towns, where such buildings existed. Further, the 
study of Greek philosophy was looked upon with 
disapproval amongst the Rabbis, who regarded it as 
a danger to their religion (see above, p. 106). There- 
fore it was natural that they should not willingly 
encounter Greek philosophers, though sometimes 
obliged to do so. The term 'Be Abidan,' though 
only a hybrid word, may be translated ' House of 
Destruction ' ; and I suggest that it is a play on the 
word (phelov or odeum, nearly alike in sound, 1 though 
not intended as a transliteration. I venture to think 
that this explanation of ' Be Abidan ' meets the re- 
quirements of the references to it in the passages 
quoted above. An (oSelov was a place to which a Jew 
might on occasion go, because it was not a heathen 
temple. It was a place where philosophical disputa- 

i )T2K and ^5e7ov seem at first sight somewhat far removed from each 
other in sound. But, for the first syllable, compare DWplK and u>Keav6s, 
bearing in mind that 2 and 1 are frequently interchanged. And, for the 
termination, compare jD^D and <nj^7ov, an exact parallel. 


tions were held, such as we know that R. Jehoshua 
did engage in ; and it was a place where books (in- 
cluding Christian books) would most naturally be 
found. Finally, it was a place well known in several 
Palestinian cities, and not, so far as I am aware, 
familiar to the Babylonian Rabbis. 

There remains to be considered the term Be Nitz- 
raphi. What this means, we can only infer from the 
two passages quoted above (54), (57). It is evident 
that the ' Be Nitzraphi ' was considered to be a worse 
place to go to than the Be Abldan ; for while Rab 
would not go to the latter, much less to the former, 
Shemuel went to the latter, but would not go to the 
former. Moreover, while the 'Be Abidan' is first 
mentioned in connexion with R. Jehoshua and R. 
El'azar (first half of the second century), the 'Be 
Nitzraphi ' is only mentioned in connexion with Rab 
and Shemuel, whose sojourn in Palestine occurred in 
the beginning of the third century. It appears from 
(57) that the ' Be Nitzraphi ' was a place where wine 
was used for religious purposes, while at the same 
time it could not have been a heathen temple, because 
no Rabbi would have entered such a place or have 
had any inducement to do so ; and thus the fact that 
he did not go there would call for no remark. More- 
over, the ' Be Nitzraphi ' was a Palestinian institution, 
although the fact of its being mentioned only in con- 
nexion with Rab and Shemuel, both chiefly known 
as Babylonian teachers, might suggest that it was a 
Babylonian institution. This cannot indeed be said 
to be impossible, owing to the scantiness of the 
evidence upon which any conclusion can be based. 
But it is not likely, because a comparison is made 


between the Be Abidan, which we have seen to be 
purely Palestinian, and the Be Nitzraphi ; and it is 
stated that Shemuel went to one but not to the other. 
Evidently he could have gone to both. It appears to 
me most probable that the ' Be Nitzraphi ' is a 
synagogue or meeting-place of Christians, more 
particularly Jewish Christians or Nazarenes, Notzrim. 
In this case the wine which " they drank on the 
day of their feast " would be the wine of the Lord's 
Supper. While a Jew would certainly not enter a 
place where Gentile Christians assembled, we know, 
and shall see in passages to be quoted hereafter, that 
Rabbis of undoubted orthodoxy, such as Abahu, had 
close intercourse with Jewish Christians ; and not only 
so, but that a Rabbi (Saphra) was actually appointed 
by the Jewish Christians of Caesarea to be their teacher 
on the recommendation of this same Abahu. If any- 
thing, this proves too much, because the * Be 
Nitzraphi,' or Jewish Christian place of meeting, 
might seem to be not such a terrible place after all. 
Yet Abahu, with all his readiness to hold intercourse 
with Jewish Christians, was a stout opponent of their 
teaching, and had many a debate with them. I rest, 
therefore, in the conclusion that ' Be Nitzraphi ' de- 
notes a meeting-place of Jewish Christians ; and I 
would explain the name as a hybrid, combining a 
reference to Notzrim, Nazarenes, with the notion 
of assembly (root, tzaraph). I do not know that 
Nitzraphi is the correct form ; as the word is only 
found in an unpointed text, it is difficult to say what 
the proper vowels are. 

In conclusion it should be pointed out that there 
is no mention of books in connexion with the ' Be 


Nitzraphi.' That institution is only referred to 
because the mention of the ■ Be Abldan ' suggested it. 
Also, if my explanation of ' Be Abldan ' be correct, 
the books referred to would not be exclusively 
Christian books. But undoubtedly Christian books 
would be included, perhaps even as early as the time 
of R. Jehoshua, certainly in the time of Rab and 
Shemuel, and afterwards. Because, by the middle of 
the second century, Christian writers had composed 
Apologies for their religion in answer to the argu- 
ments of Gentile opponents ; and the Dialogue of 
Justin Martyr with Tryphon the Jew, though probably 
fictitious in substance, may nevertheless represent a 
fact ; for the dialogue form would scarcely have been 
chosen, unless such disputations were already familiar 
by common usage to those who would read the book. 
That a Jew, to say nothing of Tarphon, would have 
spoken as Justin makes his Jew speak, is not likely ; 
but in other respects the Dialogue may be taken as a 
representation, from the Christian side, of what went 
on in a ' Be Abldan.' There was no great difference, 
from this point of view, between an cpSeiov and the 
£wrds, where Justin says that he conversed with the 

The Nazaiiene Day 

(58) b. A. Zar. 6 a (ib. 7 b ).— For R. Tahlipha bar 
Abdimi said that Shemuel said : * The Nazarene 
day, according to the words of R. Ishmael, 
is forbidden for ever.' 

(59) b. Taan. 27 b .— On the eve of Sabbath they 
did not fast, out of respect to the Sabbath ; 


still less [did they fast] on the Sabbath itself. 

Why did they not fast on the day after 

Sabbath ? R. Johanan says, ' Because of the 

Commentary. — There is little to be said upon these 
two meagre references to the Christian Sunday. It 
is curious that both occur in the Babylonian Gemara, 
and that the Palestinian tradition does not appear to 
contain any allusion to the 'Nazarene day.' It is 
true that R. Johanan was a Palestinian teacher ; but 
his dictum (in 59) is quoted only by a Babylonian, i.e. 
by the compiler of the Gemara, presumably R. Ashi, 
in the fourth century. In (58) the ' words of R. 
Ishmael' have no reference to the Sunday, but are 
a general declaration concerning heathen festivals. 
Shemuel, a Babylonian (a.d. 180-250), merely asserts 
that, according to the rule of R. Ishmael, the ' Nazar- 
ene day ' is forbidden for ever. The context shows 
that what is forbidden on that day is intercourse with 
those who observe it as a festival. In (59) the subject 
under discussion is the reason for certain fasts, kept 
by the idsjd hwk, men appointed to be present and 
to repeat prayers while sacrifices were offered, of 
course in the time when the Temple was still in exis- 
tence. In Sopherim, c. 17, § 5, the passage (59) is 
referred to, and R. Johanans explanation is given, 
though without his name. Then follows his remark, 
" but the sages have said that in the days of the 
nncwD [the assistants at the sacrifices] men did not 
pay any attention to the idolaters." R. Johanan 
transferred to the time of the Temple a feature of 
the religious life of his own totally different time. 
It should be observed that the word nsu, ' Nazarene/ 


and not the word Minim, is used to designate the 
obnoxious day. 

Having examined the passages which, so far as 
they go, describe Minim, I proceed to give those 
which attempt to define Minim and Minuth. I 
am aware that in so doing I am not following the 
logical order ; but I trust that the reason given above 
(p. 123) may be a sufficient justification. 

Gentile and Min (i.) 

(60) T. B. Mez., ii. 33. — Gentiles, and those that 
keep small cattle and those that breed the 
same, are neither helped out [of a pit] nor 
cast into it. The Minim and the apostates 
and the betrayers are cast in and not helped 

This passage is included and discussed in the 

(61) b. A. Zar. 26 a , b . — R Abahu taught, in presence 
of R. Johanan, Idolaters and shepherds of 
small cattle are neither helped out nor cast 
in ; but the Minim, and the betrayers and 
the apostates (mumarim) are cast in and not 
helped out. He [R. Johanan] said to him, 
1 1 teach every lost thing of thy brother [Deut. 
xxii. 3] to include the apostate, and thou hast 
said, they are cast in.' He [R. Joh.] excludes 
the apostate. Then did he mean to teach 
this both of the apostate who eats nebheloth 
from desire, and of the apostate who eats 
neblieloth to offend ? [Because] some suppose 


that he who eats nebheloth to offend is a Min, 

some say an apostate. Rab Aha and Rabina 

are divided. One says, ' he who eats nebheloth 

from desire is an apostate, he who eats nebheloth 

to offend is a Min.' The other says, • even he 

who eats nebheloth to offend is an apostate.' 

Then what is a Min? He who serves false 

gods [lit. gods of the stars]. It is rejoined, 

1 If he eat a single flea or fly, he is an apostate.' 

Now here [i.e. in R. Abahu's dictum] it is a 

case of eating to offend, and therefore he 

includes the apostate ; there [i.e. in R. 

Johanan's dictum] he [the apostate] wished 

to taste what is forbidden [and is therefore 


Commentary. — The foregoing passage is a fair 

specimen, both in matter and style, of a halachic 

discussion. To make the meaning clear, considerable 

explanation of detail is necessary. " Idolaters," 

literally, worshippers of stars, are the ordinary 

heathen, Gentiles, and I have used the term Idolaters 

for convenience. "Are neither helped out nor cast 

in," i.e. out of or into a pit. Gentiles are not to be 

endangered or delivered from danger. On the other 

hand, Minim, betrayers and apostates, are to be 

endangered and not to be delivered from danger. As 

regards Minim and betrayers, i.e. political informers, 

delatores, this is not disputed. The question is raised, 

however, in regard to the apostate (mumar), whether 

he ought to be included in the severer treatment 

dealt out to Minim. R. Abahu taught that he should 

be included, R. Johanan on the other hand maintained 

that he should not. And the point to be settled 


accordingly is whether there is a distinction between 
a Min and an Apostate. An Apostate (mumar) is 
one who deliberately transgresses the ceremonial law, 
especially in regard to food, by eating forbidden 
things. Nebheloth means the flesh of an animal that 
has died of itself, which flesh is forbidden as food 
[Lev. vii. 24]. A man who eats nebheloth is un- 
deniably a mumar. But, says the Gemara (in 
reference to the dictum of R. Johanan, who excluded 
the mumar from the severer treatment), a mumar may 
eat nebheloth either from desire, because he is hungry, 
or in order to offend, i.e. from wilful defiance of God. 
Does R. Johanan apply his words to both of these ? 
Because some say that the latter is a Min, while some 
say that he is still only a mumar. The discussion 
between R. Johanan and R. Abahu must have taken 
place not later than a.d. 279, the year of R. Johanan's 
death. The point raised was discussed by R. Aha 
and Rabina, Babylonian teachers during the early 
years of the fourth century. The former (R. Aha 
bar Jacob) held that a mumar who ate nebheloth from 
desire was only a mumar > while one who did so to 
offend was a Min. The latter (Rabina the elder) 
held that a mumar in either case was only a mumar, 
and that a Min was a heathen idolater. The Gemara 
decides, as between R. Johanan and R. Abahu, that 
even if a man eat a single flea or fly (both of which 
are forbidden food), he is a mumar ; but that R. 
Abahu had in view the mumar who ate in order to 
offend, and therefore declared that such mumar was 
to be severely dealt with, like a Min or an informer ; 
on the other hand, R. Johanan had in view the mumar 
who only ate because he wished to taste forbidden 


food, and therefore declared that such mumar should 
be excluded from the severer treatment. 

It should be observed that this whole discussion 
arises upon two Baraithas, i.e. decisions contemporary 
with, but not included in, the Mishnah. One is that 
already quoted at the head of this passage, from T. B. 
Mez. ii. 33. The other is found in T. Horai. i. 5, 
and is to the effect that everyone who eats reptiles 
(lintpe) is a mumar} These two passages are con- 
siderably earlier than the period of R. Johanan and 
R. Abahu, and yet more so than that of Aha and 
Rabina. The discussion upon them may therefore 
be considered as academic rather than practical, so far, 
at all events, as regards the difference between a 
mumar and a Min. And a comparison of the two 
discussions seems to show that whereas R. Johanan 
and R. Abahu knew well what a Min was, R. Aha 
and Rabina did not know, except as a matter of 
speculation. Rabina would not have said that a 
Min was an ordinary Gentile if he had had actual 
knowledge of the Minim. 

So far as regards the subject of Minim, the passage 
we have just studied is of very little value, being 
concerned only with the subject of the mumar. It 
was necessary, however, to deal with it because of 
its mention of Minim, and it could not be made 
intelligible without the dry and tedious explanation 
just given. 

It may be sufficient to refer, without translation, to 
a short passage b. Hor. 11% where the same question 
concerning the mumar and the Min is discussed and 
decided in the same way as in the passage just ex- 

1 Cod. Erfurt reads ' Meshummad,' HOI^D. 


amined. Nothing fresh is added, and the explanation 
of the one passage suffices for the other. 

The following extract is hardly less dry and difficult 
than the foregoing ; but it must be included, since it 
brings out a somewhat different aspect of the subject. 

Gentile and Min (ii.) 


(62) T. Hull. ii. 20, 21.— Flesh which is found in 
the hand of a Gentile (>u) is allowed for use, 
in the hand of a Min it is forbidden for use. 
That which comes from a house of idolatry, 
lo I this is the flesh of sacrifices of the dead, 
because they say, 'slaughtering by a Min is 
idolatry, their bread is Samaritan bread, their 
wine is wine offered [to idols], their fruits 
are not tithed, their books are books of witch- 
craft, and their sons are bastards. One does 
not sell to them, or receive from them, or 
take from them, or give to them ; one does 
not teach their sons trades, and one does not 
obtain healing from them, either healing of 
property or healing of life.' 
Commentary. — The ordinary Gentile is here dis- 
tinguished from the Min, and the latter is judged 
more severely, presumably on the ground that the 
ceremonial law in regard to food is unknown to the 
former, and wilfully violated by the latter. The 
argument is, 'flesh found in the hand of a Min is 

forbidden for use, because that which is slaughtered 



by a Min is [for] idolatry, and that which comes from 
a house of idolatry is the flesh of sacrifices of the 
dead' [cp. Ps. cvi. 28]. The various statements 
about the Minim rest upon anonymous authority — 
'they say' — and perhaps only represent current 
opinion in the time when the Tosephta was compiled. 
The context of the passage shows that the Minim 
here described are, or at all events include, Jewish 
Christians. The passage does not occur, so far as I 
know, either in the Mishnah or the Gemaras ; but in 
b. Hull. 41% b there is a parallel to some sentences of 
Tosephta preceding the portion just translated. The 
Mishnah on the page just mentioned (M. Hull. ii. 9., 
b. Hull 41 a ) says that a hole to catch the blood of 
slaughtered animals is not to be made in the street, 
p*on npn* *S*% * that one may not imitate the Minim.' 
(See also j. Kil. 32 a , where the same statement 
occurs.) T. Hull. ii. 19 has >pin ns nrw una p w vh 
pro , " he shall not do so because he would be doing 
the statutes of the Minim." Rashi and the other 
commentators explain the Minim to be idolaters, 
ordinary Gentiles. If this were the meaning, it is 
not evident why the usual term for a Gentile was not 
used. The reference must be to heretics, possibly, 
though not necessarily, Jewish Christians ; but I do 
not know of any heretical practice such as that 

Here may be added a passage which seems to show 
that the distinction between Min and Gentile was 
scarcely understood in the Babylonian schools. 

(63) b. Hull. 13 b . — A teacher said, <a thing 
slaughtered by an idolater is nebhelah (see 
above, p. 175) and he is suspected of being a 


Min. Rab Nahman said that Rabah bar Abuha 
said there are no Minim among the idolatrous 
nations. But we show that there are. Say 
that the majority of idolaters are not Minim. 
He [R. Nahman] thought of this that R. 
Hija bar Abba said that R. Johanan said, 
Foreigners outside the land are not idolaters, 
but follow the custom of their fathers. R. 
Joseph bar Minjomi said that Rab Nahman 
said * there are no Minim among the idolaters.' 
In reference to what ? Do you say, In refer- 
ence to slaughtering ? Here we have * sl thing 
slaughtered by a Min': if he be an Israelite, 
it is forbidden. What if he be an idolater? 
But [if you mean] in reference to ' casting- 
down ' [into a pit], we have, * They cast down 
a Min who is an Israelite ' ; what if he be 
an idolater? 
Commentary. — In addition to what has been said 
on the preceding passages in the present group, it is 
only necessary to say that, the foregoing seems to be 
a purely academical discussion amongst teachers who 
had no practical experience of Minim. R. Nahman 
bar Jacob (died 300 a.d.) taught in Nehardea till a.d. 
258, then at Shechanzib till his death. He was the 
son-in-law of Rabah bar Abuha, the Resh Galutha 
after 250 a.d. R. Hija bar Abba was a pupil of the 
Palestinian R. Johanan, he lived in the latter half 
of the third century and the beginning of the fourth. 
R. Joseph bar Minjomi was an otherwise unknown 
pupil of R. Nahman. The purpose of the discussion 
seems to be to reconcile the dictum that there are no 
Minim among idolaters with the statements of the 


teacher who said that an idolater who slaughtered an 
animal for sacrifice was suspected of being a Min. 
From this latter it would follow that a Min was only 
a particularly zealous idolater, and this is the view 
generally taken by Rashi (see his comment on the 
present passage, and elsewhere). The Gemara 
accounts for the opinion that there are no Minim 
amongst idolaters, by a reference to the saying of 
R. Johanan that there is no idolatry outside the 
Holy Land. This means that the worship of gods 
other than the God of Israel is only idolatry, false 
worship, when practised in the Holy Land, by those 
who might be supposed to know the true religion. 
There might therefore be, in foreign countries, persons 
who in Palestine would be called Minim; but they 
are not so called, because the name implies a dis- 
tinction which only holds good in Palestine. 1 The 
Gemara, however, does not accept the dictum that 
there are no Minim amongst idolatrous nations, and 
proves their existence by showing that it is implied in 
certain ordinances referring to Minim who were of 
Jewish origin. But it is quite plain that the discus- 
sion does not rest upon any real knowledge of, or 
personal contact with, Minim. This will be of im- 
portance when we come to gather up the evidence so 
as to present a general account of the use of the 
term Minim. 

1 But the same Kabbi Johanan says (b. A. Zar. 65 a ), * A proselyte who 
lets twelve months go by without being circumcised is like a Min among the 
idolaters.' From which may be inferred that Johanan did not hold the 
opinion that there were no Minim among the idolaters ; and, further, that he 
would define a Min as one who professed to hold the Jewish religion with- 
out observing the ceremonial law. 


The Jewish Origin of the Minim 

(64) j. Sanh. 29 c . — R. Johanan said, * Israel did 

not go into exile until they had been made 

twenty-four sects of Minim.' What is the 

reason ? Son of man, I send thee to the 

children of Israel, to the rebellious peoples 

that have rebelled against me [Ezek. ii. 3]. It 

is not written here, to the rebellious people, 

but to the rebellious peoples which have rebelled 

against me, they and their fathers have sinned 

against me, unto this day. 

Commentary. — This is a little bit of haggadah, 

not at all a strict exegesis of the text of Ezekiel. 

So far as I know it does not occur elsewhere in the 

Gemaras or the Midrashim. It forms part of a 

long chapter upon that section of the Mishnah which 

enumerates those persons who shall have no part in 

the world to come. Amongst these, according to 

R. Johanan, in a passage immediately preceding the 

one before us, are to be included the followers of 

Johanan ben Kareah [Jer. xliii.]. This opinion is 

based upon an exposition of Hos. v. 7, not because 

that text distinctly refers to the son of Kareah, but 

merely because it might be applied to him. This 

dictum of R. Johanan appears to serve as an excuse 

for introducing the one before us, which in like 

manner is only a fanciful deduction from a text in 

Ezekiel. The prophet speaks of the children of 

Israel as ■ rebellious peoples ' instead of 'people.' And, 

whether or not the Hebrew text is correct in giving 

the plural form, and whatever the prophet may have 

meant if he did use the plural, it is out of the 


question that he should have meant what R. Johanan 
deduced from his words. Probably the Rabbi was 
quite aware of this. His object was not to expound 
Ezekiel, but to find a Scripture basis, however slight, 
for an opinion of his own concerning heretics. He 
knew the Minim, of his own day and earlier, as 
heretics who disregarded the true religion of Israel 
as summed up in the Torah. They were rebellious 
against the God of Israel ; and thus, as the word 
used by Ezekiel was applicable to them, haggadic 
logic inferred that the rebellion denounced by 
Ezekiel was that of the Minim. The twenty-four 
sects of Minim are arrived at by the simple calcu- 
lation that each of twelve tribes was divided into 
at least two sections. Hence twenty-four. (This, 
at all events, is the explanation of the anonymous 
commentator on the passage in the Palestinian 
Gemara.) The only point worth noticing is that R. 
Johanan's dictum implies the Jewish origin of Minim. 
They were not Gentiles, but unfaithful Jews. The 
passage therefore, while entirely worthless as a com- 
ment on Ezekiel, is valuable as evidence for the 
historical definition of the term Minim, coming 
from a contemporary authority. 

Haggadah against Minuth 

(65) b. A. Zar. 17 a . — Keep thy way far from her 
[Prov. v. 8], this is Minuth; and come not 
near the door of her house, this is the Govern- 
ment. Some say, Keep thy way far from her, 
this is Minuth and the Government ; and come 
not near the door of her house, this is harlotry. 


How near [may one come] ? R. Hisda said, 
Four cubits. How do our Rabbis expound 
this : ' The price of a harlot ' ? According to 
R. Hisda. For R. Hisda said, Every harlot 
who begins by being hired ends by hiring, as it 
is said [Ezek. xvi. 34], Whereas thou givest hire 
and no hire is given to thee and thou art 
contrary. He differs from R. Pedath, for R. 
Pedath said, The Torah only forbids approach 
for uncovering nakedness, as it is said [Lev. 
xviii. 6], None of you shall approach to any 
that is near of kin to him to uncover their 
nakedness. Ulla, when he came from the 
college, used to kiss the hands of his sisters. 
Some say he kissed their breasts. He [Ulla] 
contradicts himself ; for Ulla said, Approach in 
general is forbidden on the ground of [the 
maxim], 'Away, away, Nazirite, they say, 
approach not the fence round the vineyard.' 
The horseleach hath two daughters [crying], 
Give, give [Pro v. xxx. 15]. What is • Give, 
give? ' Mar Uqba said, ' It is the voice of two 
daughters who cry from Gehinnom, saying in 
this world, Give, give.' And who are they? 
Minuth and Government. Some say that R. 
Hisda said that Mar Uqba said, The voice of 
Gehinnom crying out and saying, ■ Bring me 
my two daughters who cry and say in this 
world, Give, give.' None who come to her 
return, neither do they attain the paths of life 
[Prov. ii. 19]. But if they do not 'return,' 
how should they ' attain V Here is a diffi- 
culty. If they do 'return,' they do not 


'attain' the patlis of life.' It is to be inferred 
that everyone who departs from Minuth dies. 
But [there is the case of] a certain woman 
who came before R. Hisda and said, that the 
lightest of the lightest sins she had done was 
that her youngest was begotten by her eldest 
son. And he [R. Hisda] said, 'Make ready 
her shroud ! ' But she did not die. From her 
saying, 'the lightest of the lightest sins she had 
done,' presumably Minuth was still in her; 
and because she had not thoroughly turned 
from it she did not die. Some say [one who 
turns] from Minuth dies, [one who turns] from 
sin [does] not. But [there is the case of] the 
woman who came before R. Hisda, and he 
said, ' Make a shroud for her ! ' and she died. 
From her saying, ' the lightest of the lightest 
sins she had done,' presumably Minuth was 
still in her, and she died [in parting] from 
it and not from her sin. But it is tradition, 
they said, concerning El'azar ben Dordaia 
. . . . * he bowed his head between his knees 
and groaned with weeping until his soul 
departed. And there went forth a Bath Qol 
[voice from heaven], saying, 'Rabbi El'azar 
ben Dordaia is summoned to the life of the 
world to come.' Here he was in sin, and 
died [in parting from it]. There [referring to 
the incident omitted], so long as he clave to 
the woman, it was like Minuth. Rabbi wept 
and said, ' One man earns heaven in how many 

1 Here follows an obscene story to show how a great sinner may repent 
and yet die. 


years ! and another in a single hour. It is not 
enough for repentant sinners that they should 
be received, but they must also be called 
Commentary. — This passage forms the continua- 
tion of No. (46), where is related the arrest of R. 
Eliezer for Minuth. But whereas that famous 
incident is mentioned no less than five times in the 
Talmud and Midrash, the present passage (with the 
exception of the first few sentences) occurs, so far as 
I know, only here. 

The haggadic interpretation of Prov. v. 8 would 
seem to be due to R. Eliezer himself. 1 For he says 
(see above, p. 139), ' I transgressed that which is 
written in the Torah, Keep thy way far from her, 
this is Minuth ; and go not near the door of her house, 
this is the Government.' R. Eliezer's misfortune 
was due to both these evils ; he had been con- 
taminated with heresy, and was a prisoner in the 
power of the state. The variation, according to 
which the first half of the verse refers to both 
Minuth and the Government, while the second 
denotes harlotry, is probably much later, and seems 
to belong to a time when Minuth and the Empire 
were blended by the adoption of Christianity as the 
state religion. That this great change did not pass 
unnoticed in the Rabbinical literature we shall have 
evidence later on. 

R. Hisda, whose opinions are cited more than 

1 According to Bacher, A. d. Tann., ii 310 n., the application of Prov. 
v. 8 to Minuth ia ascribed to R. Jehoshua ben Qorha, in " the second version 
of the Aboth de R. Nathan 7 b ." This reference I have not been able to 
verify. R. Eliezer was considerably earlier in date than R. Jeh. b. Qorha. 


once, was a Babylonian whom we have already 
several times met with. In conjunction with R. 
Huna, he presided over the college at Sura. He 
was born a.d. 217, and died a.d. 309. He was a 
pupil of Rab, and also of Mar Uqba, whose name 
occurs in the present passage. R. Pedath, probably 
the elder of two who bear the same name, was a 
Babylonian contemporary with Rabbi in Palestine. 
He is scarcely known except as the father of the 
more distinguished R. El'azar ben Pedath. Ulla is 
Ulla ben Ishmael, of Palestinian origin (see Bacher, 
Ag. d. Bab. Amor., p. 93, n. 3), who afterwards 
migrated to Babylonia. He was not liked in the 
country of his adoption, a fact which perhaps may 
account for the rather uncivil reference to him. 

The maxim, 'Away, away, Nazirite, they say; 
approach not the fence round the vineyard,' is 
quoted b. Shabb. 13% b. Pes. 40% b. Jeb. 46% b. 
B. Mez. 92% b. A. Zar. 58% Bamm. r. x. 8 p. 38 c . 
It means, 'Keep away from temptation,' the 
Nazirite, of course, being forbidden to taste wine. 
The earliest authority for it is R. Johanan (b. A. Zar. 
58% 59 a ), who, however, refers to it as a familiar 
saying. It is indeed called a proverb (i6no, fcw>) in 
the last of the above-mentioned passages, and prob- 
ably occurs elsewhere ; but I have not been able to 
find it. 

The explanation of the text Pro v. xxx. 15 is not 
very clear, except to this extent, that it is interpreted 
of Minuth and the Empire, as in the case of the 
former text [Prov. v. 8]. This interpretation appears 
to be due to Mar Uqba (see above), and to have 
been handed down in more than one form, for one of 


which the authority is R. Hisda, a disciple of Mar 
Uqba. It should be noted that R. Hisda was also 
the authority in the Babylonian schools for the story 
about the mother of Jesus (see above, No. (1), p. 36), 
and for the remark about Jesus in reference to 
'burning his food' (see above, No. (9), p. 56). 
Further, in b. Ber. 12 a (a passage which will be 
examined hereafter, p. 308), the same R. Hisda 
mentions the Minim. These facts serve to show in 
what direction R. Hisda was looking when he en- 
dorsed Mar Uqba's interpretation of the text in Prov. 
xxx. 15. It is possible, and perhaps probable, that 
this interpretation was of Palestinian origin ; at all 
events, hostility against both Minuth and the Empire 
would naturally be more bitter in the west than in 
the east. At the same time it must be admitted 
that there does not seem to be any trace of this 
particular haggadah in the Palestinian Midrash. R. 
Hisda improved on Mar Uqba's interpretation of 
the text. The earlier teacher said that the 'two 
daughters' who cried 'give, give' were Minuth 
and the Empire. This left it uncertain what was 
meant by the 'horseleach' whose daughters they 
were. R. Hisda said that the horseleach meant 
Gehinnom [Gehenna, which in this case may be 
fairly rendered Hell], 'who cries and says, Bring 
me my two daughters who cry and say in this 
world Give, give ' ; in other words, Heresy and the 
Empire are the rapacious offspring of Hell, and Hell 
cries out for them. 

Following on this text is an interpretation of Prov. 
ii. 19, on similar lines, None who come to her 
return, neither do they attain the paths of life. Like 


the preceding haggadah, it is introduced without any 
mention of a Rabbi as its author. But in this case 
the source can be traced in the Palestinian tradition. 
In the Midrash Qoh. r. [on i. 8, a long passage of 
which use will be made hereafter], occurs the follow- 
ing, which will be seen at once to be a close parallel 
to the incident at present under consideration. 

(66) Qoh. r. i. 8. — The case of a woman who came 

to R. Eliezer to become a proselyte. She said 

to him, ■ Rabbi, receive me.' He said to her, 

1 Relate to me thy deeds.' She said, ' My 

youngest son is by my eldest son.' He 

stormed at her. She went to R. Jehoshua 

and he received her. His disciples said to 

him, 'R. Eliezer drove her away and thou 

receivest ' ! He said to them, ' When her 

mind was set on becoming a proselyte she 

no longer lived to the world [?], as it is 

written [Pro v. ii. 19], None that go unto her 

return again, and if they return, they do not 

attain the paths of life' 

Commentary, — This passage occurs in the midst of 

a long series of references to Minuth, all of which, 

moreover, are concerned with Palestinian personages. 

It is, on the face of it, much more likely that a 

woman desiring to abjure Minuth — in this instance 

Christian heresy — should go to a Palestinian Rabbi 

rather than to a Babylonian like Hisda. At the same 

time it is true that the Midrash on Qoheleth is later 

than the Babylonian Gemara, and occasionally quotes 

from it (see Zunz, G. Vortr., p. 265). But, in the 

present instance, the Midrash gives the shorter form 

of the story; and the version in the Babylonian 


Gemara, at present under consideration, is not only 
longer, but appears to be introduced as merely a case 
for discussion. Bacher (Ag. d. Tann., i. 188 n. 4,) 
regards the version in Qoh. r. as the original. If so, 
then this haggadic interpretation of Pro v. ii. 19 is 
traced back to the second century. And seeing that 
the haggadah on Prov. v. 8 is due to R. Eliezer, the 
contemporary of R. Jehoshua, it is at least probable 
that the interpretation of Prov. xxx. 15 also dates 
from the same period, and from one or other of the 
two famous Rabbis already named. In that case R. 
Hisda merely added his own comment upon each text 
to a tradition brought from Palestine. 

We resume now the discussion of the passage in the 
Babylonian Gemara. The object of the argument is to 
decide whether they who recant from Minuth die or not. 
The Gemara says, " It is to be inferred that they die." 
Then by way of proof to the contrary is introduced 
the case of the woman who came before R. Hisda, 
accusing herself of gross crimes. It is to be observed 
that the Gemara does not know whether this woman 
really died or not, and it attempts to prove its point 
on either supposition. It seems likely that what 
came before R. Hisda was not the woman herself, but 
the story of the woman who had gone to R. Eliezer and 
R. Jehoshua, mentioned merely as a case in point, and 
submitted to him for his opinion. He gave his opinion 
(viz. that she would die) in the words, ' Make ready 
her shroud ! ' If, as a matter of fact, she did not die, 
then, says the Gemara, she was still unrepentant ; if 
she did die, then she died in parting from her heresy 
and not from her sin. This uncertainty as to whether 
she died or not can be traced to the original story in 


Qoh. r. There R. Jehoshua, when asked why he 
received her, said, ' When her mind was set on becom- 
ing a proselyte, she no longer lived to the world' 
(D^y 1 ?). I have translated these words literally, but 
I do not feel certain what exactly is meant by ' to the 
world.' The Rabbinical literature does not recognise, 
so far as I know, the sharp distinction between • the 
world ' and the spiritual life which is common 
in the N.T., especially in the Fourth Gospel. So 
that possibly here, as elsewhere, thvh should be 
translated 'for ever.' But still I believe that the 
sense which R. Jehoshua intended is given by the 
translation 'to the world,' ix. he meant that the 
woman by her repentance died to her past life and 
would never live in it again. This is the opinion of 
Hamburger (Encykl., ii. 514). Apparently this was 
not understood in the Babylonian schools, hence the 
uncertainty as to whether or not the woman really 

The story about R. El'azar ben Dordaia (which I 
have not transcribed or translated because it is gross 
and has no bearing on the main subject) is introduced 
by way of an objection to the argument that the 
woman did not die because of her sin. El'azar ben 
Dordaia, it is urged, sinned no less grievously, and was 
forgiven, but yet he died. The objection is met by 
saying that while he was in his sin it was, as it were, 
Minuth to him, and he died in parting from it, not 
merely in repenting of his sin. This is mere hair- 
splitting, and shows that in the Babylonian school 
where this discussion was carried on there was only a 
vague notion of what Minuth was, and an inclination 
to identify it with sexual immorality. 


Note that El'azar ben Dordaia was not, strictly- 
speaking, a Rabbi, but was only greeted with that 
title when summoned by the divine forgiveness to 
heaven. And note finally the jealousy of Rabbi, i.e. 
R. Jehudah ha-Qadosh, whose epithet of ' The Holy ' 
would lead one to expect something different. 

Minim and Circumcision 

(67) Shem. r. xix. 4, p. 36 d . — Because Israelites who 
are circumcised do not go down to Gehinnom. 
R. Berachjah said, ■ That the Minim and the 
wicked of Israel may not say, "We are 
circumcised, we shall not go down to 
Gehinnom," what does the Holy One, Blessed 
be He, do? He sends an angel and effaces 
their circumcision, and they go down to 
Gehinnom, as it is said [Ps. lv. 20], He hath 
put forth his hand against such as be at peace 
with him, he hath profaned his covenant ; and 
when Gehinnom sees that their circumcision 
is a matter of doubt, it opens its mouth and 
swallows them alive and opens its mouth with- 
out measure' [Isa. v. 14]. 
Commentary. — R. Berachjah was a younger con- 
temporary of Abahu in the early years of the fourth 
century, and, like him, lived in Palestine. There were 
indeed two Rabbis of this name, of whom the elder 
lived perhaps half a century earlier. The one who is 
the more frequently mentioned (especially in the 
Midrash) is probably the younger. 

The passage before us is of no great importance 


in itself, except that it implies the Jewish origin 
of the Minim. Circumcision would not concern any 
Gentile. The Minim are evidently Jewish heretics, 
and, though not necessarily in every case Christians, 
must certainly have included some. If so, then it is 
important to notice that as late as the fourth century 
there were Jewish Christians who were circumcised. 
The conclusion is either that the practice was kept 
up amongst Jewish Christian families, or else that the 
Jewish Christian community received very numerous 
proselytes. The former is the more likely, because 
the term Minim, whatever it may denote, must at 
least refer to the main body of heretics, so called, 
whoever they were, and not to those who joined them 
from time to time. 

The Principle of Minuth : The House of Straw 

(68) Bamm. r. xviii. 17, p. 75 d . — R. El'azar said, 
There was in them [i.e. Doeg and Ahithophel] 
the principle of Minuth. What were they 
like? Like a house filled with straw, and 
there were openings in the house, and the 
straw entered them. After a time that straw 
which was inside those openings began to 
come forth. But all knew that that had 
been a house [full] of straw. So Doeg and 
Ahithophel. From the beginning no Mitzvoth 
[precepts of the Law] were in them ; although 
they had been made Sons of the Law, they 
were as in their beginning, for wickedness was 
in the midst of them, within them [cp. Ps. 
lv. 11]. 


Commentary. — The Midrash on Exodus dates, 

according to Zunz (G. Vortr., p. 261), from the twelfth 

century, but contains material that is much earlier. 

The passage before us is part of such earlier material. 

It is not indeed to be found in exactly the same words 

in the older literature ; but the substance of it is 

contained in the Palestinian Gemara, and there are 

traces of it in that of Babylon. In j. Sanh. 27 a is 

the following: — 

(69) The Epiquros: R. Johanan and R. Lazar, 

one said, '[He is] like one who says These 

Scribes ' ! ; the other said, ' [He is] like one 

who says These Rabbis ' ! R. El'azar and R. 

Shemuel bar Nahman, one said, ■ [He is] like 

an arch of stones ; as soon as one stone is 

loosened all are loosened.' The other said, 

1 [He is] like a house full of straw. Although 

you clear away the straw from it, the chaft 

inside [clings to and] loosens the walls.' 

This latter passage carries us back to the third 

century. R. Lazar is the same as R. El'azar, and 

both names denote R. El'azar ben Pedath. He was 

a Babylonian who came to Palestine and taught in 

Tiberias, where he died in a.d. 279, about the same 

time as R. Johanan. R. Shemuel bar Nahman was a 

Palestinian (see Bacher, A. d. Pal. Amor., i. 477), 

contemporary with R. Johanan and R. El'azar, though 

perhaps somewhat younger, as he appears to have 

been living in a.d. 286 (Bacher). 

In both passages the subject of discussion is the 

heretic or the freethinker (on the relation of Epiquros 

to Min, see above, p. 121 fol.). A Jewish Epiquros 

was practically the same as a Min. The point of 



comparison between the heretic and the house full 
of straw is this, that the original character of each 
remains unchanged in spite of changes in outward 
appearance or condition. Though the straw be 
removed, the chaff remains ; though the heretic put 
on an appearance of piety, the taint of heresy is in 
him still. Thus Doeg and Ahithophel are said to 
have in them the principle of Minuth, the taint of 
heresy, in spite of the fact that they were made ' sons 
of the Torah,' i.e. brought up in the Jewish religion. 
In b. Hag. 16 b it is said of these two that there was 
*a gnawing passion in their heart' (nJ?2 KK)), i.e. a 
secret desire to rebel, in spite of outward conformity. 
We have already seen (above, p. 70) that Doeg and 
Ahithophel are treated in the Rabbinical literature as 
types of heresy, and that there is probably some 
covert reference to Christianity in the condemnation 
of them. The present passage does not contradict, 
though it does not confirm, the latter supposition. 
The Gemara does not explain in what the ' principle 
of Minuth ' consisted, but leaves it to be inferred, or 
rather takes it for granted as being generally known, 
on the strength of other references to it elsewhere. 
The simile of the arch of stones is used by R. Johanan, 
j. M. Qat. 83 c , though for a different purpose. The 
simile of the house of straw is ascribed, in the second 
passage above (j. Sanh. 27 d ), to R. Shemuel bar 
Nahman, and that of the arch of stones to R. El'azar. 
It is probable that these two should be interchanged, 
in which case the version in Bamm. r. would be in 
harmony with that in the Palestinian Gemara. 


Scriptural Indications of Minuth 

(70) Siphri, § 115, p. 35 a . — And ye shall not walk 
after your heart [Num. xv. 39], this is 
Minuth, according as it is said [Ecc. vii. 26], 
And I find a thing more bitter than death, 
even the woman whose heart is snares and nets, 
and whose hands are bands, and the king shall 
rejoice in God [Ps. lxiii. 11.] 
Commentary. — The book Siphri is almost contem- 
poraneous with the Mishnah (see Zunz, G. Vortr., p. 
46). It was compiled, or rather edited, somewhat 
later ; but parts of its contents are older. It may be 
dated about the middle of the third century. The 
above passage is the earliest authority for the inter- 
pretation of the phrase after your heart in the sense 
of heresy. This really amounts to a definition that 
Minuth consists in following the dictates of one's 
own selfish nature, as against those of the lawful 
authority. The result of so doing is, indirectly, the 
rejection of beliefs and practices enjoined on those 
who hold the true religion. A Min, accordingly, 
disregards the authority of the Rabbis as teachers of 
religion and expounders of the Torah, both written 
and unwritten, and also maintains doctrines and 
practices which are not those of the true religion. 
This dictum, that ' after your heart ' denotes Minuth, 
became a sort of canon of exegesis in the later litera- 
ture. In support of it Siphri quotes two texts, Ecc. 
vii. 26 and Ps. lxiii. 11. The first of these does not 
appear to have any reference to heresy ; but the cita- 
tion of it may be explained either on the ground 


of the symbolism common in the O.T., which repre- 
sents religious unfaithfulness under the figure of 
fornication, or on the ground of the immorality 
with which heretics, and particularly Christians, were 
frequently charged. The second text needs to be 
given in full in order that its bearing on Minuth may 
be understood. It runs : But the king shall rejoice in 
God ; everyone that swear eth by him shall glory, for 
the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped. 
A verse of which the learned editor of Siphri rather 
naively says that it clearly refers to Minuth. 

The above passage is referred to in b. Ber. 12 b , 
where, however, the text cited in support of the inter- 
pretation is Ps. xiv. 1, The fool hath said in his heart 
there is no God. 1 This gives at least one of the 
implications of Minuth, for, if the Minim did not 
theoretically deny the existence of God, it was quite 
sufficient (as later Christian history abundantly shows) 
that they should be heretics in order to be at once 
branded as atheists. Rashi, on the passage in Ber. 
12 b , says : — Minuth : those who turn the sense of the 
Torah into an exposition of falsehood and error. 

There is a further reference to this interpretation 
of the phrase ■ after your heart ' in the Midrash 
Vajiq. r. as follows : — 

(72) Vajiqr. r., § 28, p. 40 c , d .— R, Benjamin ben 
Levi said they sought to withdraw the Book 
Qoheleth because they found in it things that 

1 Cp. also (71) Siphri, § 320, p. 137 b top : [Deut. xxxii. 21], J will 
provoke them with a foolish nation. These are the Minim. And he said 
thus [Ps. xiv. 1], The fool hath said in his hearty There is no God. 

In b. Jebam. 63 b the same occurs : the application of Ps. xiv. 1 is 
ascribed to K. Eliezer, i.e., probably, K. Eliezer ben Horqenos in the first 
century. He had already applied Prov. v. 8 to Minuth. See above, p. 139, 


lead to Minuth. They said, Ought Solomon 
to have said thus? [Ecc. xi. 9], Rejoice, O 
young man, in thy youth ; and let thy heart 
cheer thee in the days of thy youth. Moses 
said [Num. xv. 39], And ye shall not walk 
after your heart ; and Solomon said [Ecc., ut 
supra], Walk in the ways of thy Jteart, and in 
the sight of thine eyes. But the band is loosed, 
and there is no judgment and no judge. As 
soon as he [Solomon, in the same verse] said, 
But know, that for all these things God will 
bring thee into judgment, they said, Solomon 
hath spoken well. 

R. Shemuel bar Nahmani said they sought 

to withdraw the Book Qoheleth, because they 

found in it things that lead to Minuth. They 

said, Ought Solomon to have said thus ? Wlmt 

profit is there to a man of his labour [Ecc. i. 

3]. Perhaps he means even of his labour in 

hearing Torah ? They said again, If he had 

said Of all his labour, and had then been 

silent, we should have said he does not say this 

except in reference to his labour which does 

not benefit ; but the labour of hearing Torah 

does benefit. 

Commentary. — Little needs to be added to what 

has already been said. R. Benjamin ben Levi was a 

Palestinian of the fourth century (see Bacher., Ag. d. 

PaLJAmor., iii. 661 fol.). R. Shemuel bar Nahmani 

is written by mistake for R. Shemuel bar Jitzhaq (see 

Bacher, as above, p. 662, n. 2), who was contemporary 

with R. Abahu, and thus lived at the beginning of 

the fourth century. The proposal to withdraw the 


book of Ecclesiastes, i.e. to declare it uncanonical, is 
referred to in b. Shabb. 30 b . ' They ' who desired to do 
this are ' the Wise/ i.e. the Rabbis. In the passage 
in b. Shabbath the reason given is merely the alleged 
contradiction of certain texts in the book, not any 
tendency to Minuth. In the Mishnah, Jad. iii. 8, 
the discussion which ended in the retention of the 
book is said to have taken place " on the day when 
R. E'lazar ben Azariah was made Nasi," i.e. at Jabneh, 
about 100 a.d. (see below, p. 386 n.). It is worth 
noting that R. Gamliel II., who was temporarily 
deposed in favour of R. Elazar ben Azariah, was the 
same who ordered the composition of the formula 
against the Minim (see above, No. 38, p. 126 fol.). It 
is thus at least conceivable that an alleged heretical 
tendency in the book of Ecclesiastes may have been 
one reason in favour of declaring it uncanonical. 
The fact at all events remains, that though the book 
was admitted, the suspicion of its orthodoxy was not 
wholly quenched, as is seen in these references and 
explanations in the later literature. 

The passage just translated appears in a slightly 
different form in the Midrash Qoh. r., on i. 3 (p. l c ), 
and also in Pesiqta 68 b and Pesiqta r., § 18, p. 90 b . 
These add nothing of importance to what has already 
been given. 

(73) b. Sanh. 38 b .— R. Jehudah said that Rab said 
the first man was a Min, as it is said [Gen. iii. 
9], And God spake unto the man and said, 
Where [art thou]? Whither hath thy heart 
inclined ? 

Commentary. — The meaning of this haggadah is 
that the sin of Adam, in disobeying the command of 


God, was the same in kind as that of the heretic, who 
rejects the divinely-appointed authority. 

This saying does not occur, so far as I know, any- 
where else, not even in Ber. r., which mentions and 
comments on the text R. Jehudah is It. Jehudah 
ben Jehesq'el, a disciple of Rab, already frequently 

Immediately following on the passage are two 
other sayings, one that Adam effaced his circumcision, 
the other that he denied God. Both of these may be 
taken as expansions of the statement that he was a 

In Ber. r. xix. 1, p. 42 b , it is said that the serpent 
[Gen iii.] was also a Min. The idea is the same. 

In Shem. r., p. 73 c , d , Moses is accused of being a 
Min, because he expressed a doubt as to the resurrec- 
tion of the dead. This passage will be dealt with 
later (see p. 315). 

Signs of Minuth; Liturgical Variations 

(74) M. Meg., iv. 8, 9. — He that saith I will not 
go before the Ark in coloured garments, shall 
not do so in white ones. [He that refuseth 
to do so] in sandals, shall not do so even 
barefoot. And he that maketh his tephillin 
round, it is danger, and there is no [fulfilling 
of] commandment in it. If he place it [the 
tephillin] upon his forehead or upon the palm 
of his hand, lo, this is the way of Minuth. If 
he cover it with gold, and place it on his robe, 
lo, this is the way of the Hitzonim. 

If one say, ■ The good shall bless thee,' lo, 


this is the way of Minuth. [If one say], 
' Thy mercies reach to the nest of the bird,' 
1 Let thy name be remembered for good,' 
'We praise, we praise,' they silence him. 
Commentary. — This is one' of the few passages in 
which the Mishnah refers directly to Minuth. It is 
also one of the most obscure. To ■ go before the ark' 
is to stand up to read the prayers in the synagogue. 
The Mishnah enumerates several signs by which a 
reader, who is inclined to heresy, can be detected. 
The difficulty is to identify the form of heresy referred 
to. Those who desire to wear white garments when 
reading the prayers may be the Essenes, who are 
said to have always worn a white robe. This explana- 
tion, however, will not apply to those who desire to 
be barefoot when they read. It is again quite uncer- 
tain what heretics are censured in the reference to 
those "who make their tephillin round.' Of those 
who wear the tephillin on the forehead or on the palm 
of the hand, it is said ' this is the way of Minuth.' 
It is remarkable that the Gemara, the earliest com- 
mentary on the Mishnah, can give no explanation of 
these allusions. It only says (b. Meg. 24 b ) that the 
reason for the prohibition is ■ lest Minuth should be 
propagated,' a reason which is obvious in itself, and 
does not throw light on the difficulty. The Gemara 
is altogether silent on the last clause, 'he who 
covereth his tephillin with gold, lo, this is the way of 
the Hitzonim.' 1 The name Hitzonim means simply 
6 outsiders,' and whether or not it refers to the Essenes, 

1 In b. Gitt. 45 b , and b. Menah 42 b , the phrase, * cover the tephillin with 
gold,' occurs and is understood quite literally. Nothing is there said about 
the Hitzonim. Such tephillin are simply said to be not according to the 


it is surely not, as Edersheim suggests, the origin of 
that name (see L. and T. J. M., i. 333). He explains 
'cover the tephillin with gold' as equivalent to 
* praying at sunrise,' which is a somewhat strained in- 
terpretation. I do not think it is possible to identify 
the various forms of heresy, or even to say with 
certainty that separate forms of heresy are referred 
to. It is conceivable that the Mishnah only meant to 
point out that certain practices were not in accordance 
with the accepted usage, and therefore that those who 
adopted those usages laid themselves open to sus- 
picion of heresy. Yet, on the other hand, considering 
how many points of ritual were, if not open questions, 
at least subjects of discussion between the Rabbis, 
it is noteworthy that the practices referred to in 
this passage are condemned without qualification ; so 
that the conclusion can hardly be avoided, that the 
Mishnah had some particular, and not merely general, 
intention in its reference. 

It is not, however, only in aberrations from pre- 
scribed ritual that signs of Minuth were, according 
to the Mishnah, to be detected. Certain liturgical 
formulae were also branded as heretical. The first 
of these is, ■ The good shall bless thee.' The Baby- 
lonian Gemara in Megillah does not notice this 
formula. The Palestinian Gemara gives only the 
brief comment, ' two powers ' (nvusn *ri£>). This 
is a phrase of which several instances will be pre- 
sented later. It denotes the heretical doctrine that 
there are two divine powers in heaven ; in other words, 
the denial of the unity of God. If this is the inten- 
tion of the words in the Mishnah, * the good,' which 
is plural, refers to God, and, of course, implies more 


than one. 'Thee' in this case refers to the wor- 
shipper. But since, in all the other formula quoted, 
it is God who is addressed, it seems likely that it is 
so in this phrase as well, and that ' the good ' are the 
human beings who bless God. The heresy would 
seem to consist in the implication that God is blessed 
only by the good, and not by all his creatures, in- 
cluding the bad. This is the explanation of Rashi 
{ad loc.) 9 who, however, does not say in what way 
the wicked bless God. Tosaphoth accepts this, but 
gives the alternative view of the Palestinian Gemara. 
It is worthy of note that only in connexion with this 
formula is it said, 'lo, this is the way of Minuth.' 
In connexion with the others it is said merely, ' they 
silence him ' [who uses them]. The next formula is, 
6 Thy mercies extend over the nest of the bird ' [or 
extend * to ' the nest, etc.]. The Palestinian Gemara 
explains this to imply either an expression of jealousy, 
' God has mercy on the birds but not on me ' ; or 
secondly, a limitation of the mercy of God, as if it 
extended only to the nest of the bird ; or thirdly, 
a misrepresentation of the purpose of God, by saying 
that what are really the decrees of God are only acts 
of mercy. The Babylonian Gemara gives the same 
alternatives. (See also Mishnah Ber. v. 3, and the 
two Gemaras thereupon, where these heretical 
formulas are mentioned in a passage almost identical 
with the one under consideration.) Of the three 
alternatives, the last is probably the right explana- 
tion, and the heresy consists in saying that God 
acts towards his creatures not as one who com- 
mands, but as one who loves. When we remember 
the Pauline antithesis of Law and Grace, or, in- 


deed, the general N.T. doctrine that God is love, 
it is easy to understand why such an innocent and 
beautiful phrase should be deemed heretical. 

The third formula is, ' Let thy name be remem- 
bered for good,' or 'on account of what is good.' 
This is explained by saying that a man ought to 
thank God for the ill as well as for the good that 
befalls him. Whether heresy or only want of piety 
is condemned here, I do not know. The Gemaras 
agree in the explanation. 

The fourth formula is, 'We praise, we praise.' 
Here the ground of objection is the repetition of 
the word, as implying that there are two who are 
to be praised. The Gemaras agree that the refer- 
ence is to the doctrine of 'two powers.' And the 
Palestinian Gemara adds, in the name of R. Shemuel 
bar Jitzhaq, the reason why those who use the 
formula are to be silenced, ' That the mouth of those 
who speak lies may be stopped,' Ps. lxiii. 11. (For the 
application of this text to Minuth, see above, p. 196.) 

The formulae above mentioned are heretical varia- 
tions introduced into the liturgy; and they must 
date back to a time when Jews and Jewish Chris- 
tians worshipped together in the Synagogue, or, 
at all events, to a time when the presence of such 
heretics might reasonably be feared. I say Jewish 
Christians, because they were the class of heretics 
most likely to be affected by regulations concerning 
the liturgy to be used in worship. No doubt other 
heretics would be detected if any such were present ; 
but the Jewish Christians were the most important. 
We may reasonably connect the censure of these 
liturgical formulae with the enactment of the 


* formula concerning the Minim' (see above, p. 125 
fol.), and refer them, or rather the Mishnah enumer- 
ating them, to the end of the first century. This 
may account for the fact that the Gemara cannot 
explain the reasons of the various censures upon 
ritual, and can only partially explain those upon the 
liturgical formulae. When the Gemaras were com- 
piled, Jewish Christians had probably ceased to 
worship with Jews in the synagogues. Their 
aberrations in ritual were wholly forgotten and un- 
known, and only some knowledge of their aberrations 
in doctrine remained. 

Signs of Minuth; Liturgical Omissions 

(75) j. Ber. 9 C . — R. Aha and R. Judah ben Pazi 
were sitting in a certain synagogue. There 
came one and went before the Ark, and left 
out one benediction. They came and asked 
R. Simon. He said to him [sic], in the name 
of R. Jehoshua ben Levi, " When a servant 
of the congregation omits two or three bene- 
dictions, they do not make him turn back. 
There exists difference of opinion. 1 In general, 
they do not make any one turn back, except 
him who has omitted ' that makest the dead to 
live,' 'that bringest down the proud/ 'that 
buildest Jerusalem.' I say that [such a one] 
is a Min." 

Commentary. — The incident here related belongs 
to the beginning of the fourth century, or possibly 

1 3*751 "JD rDfc^K- • One is found teaching and differing.' I have not 
found this technical phrase explained anywhere, and only give what seems 
to me to be the meaning. 


the end of the third. R. Simon is R. Simon bar 
Pazi, who was a disciple of R. Jehoshua ben Levi, 
and younger contemporary of R. Johanan. He 
owned land in the south of Palestine (j. Demai 25 a , b ), 
and lived and taught there. R. Judah ben Pazi was 
his son — Pazi being the general family name, and 
not that of the father alone (see Bacher, A. d. P. A., 
ii. 438, n. 2]. R. Judah b. P. and R. Aha both 
dwelt in Lud (Lydda) (j. Sanh. 18 c , d ), and there, 
no doubt, was the synagogue referred to in the 
story. In reciting the liturgy, the reader omitted 
a single one of the [eighteen] benedictions. The 
question arose whether he ought to be made to turn 
back and recite what he had left out. R. Simon was 
consulted, presumably after the service was ended, 
and he gave in answer a dictum of his teacher R. 
Jehoshua b. Levi, that when a servant of the con- 
gregation omits tw r o or three benedictions, he is not 
to be turned back. It is not clear to me whether 
what follows is part of R. Simon's answer, or part 
of R. Jehoshua's opinion, or the opinion of the com- 
pilers of the Gemara. But, whichever it be, the 
opinion is clearly expressed that if a man leaves 
out the benedictions referring to ' the raising of the 
dead,' 'the casting down of the proud,' and 'the 
building of Jerusalem,' that man is a Min. It will 
be shown hereafter that the doctrine of the resurrec- 
tion was one of the main points in dispute between 
Jews and Minim. The words 'that bringest down 
the proud ' are the conclusion of the formula against 
the Minim (j. Ber. 8 C , see p. 136 above). The 
formula concerning the 'building of Jerusalem' in- 
cluded the prayer for the restoration of the throne 


of David ; but it is not clear to me why the omission 
of that prayer should be characteristic of a Min. 
So far as I know, the point is never raised in the 
polemical discussions of Jews with Minim. 

It does not appear that the reader in this story 
was suspected of being a Min on account of his 
omissions, at least, if he were so suspected, nothing 
came of the suspicion. The incident is made the 
occasion for remarking that certain omissions do 
point to heresy. On the whole, I am inclined to 
believe that the opinion to this effect is the opinion 
of It. Simon, and that his reply might be paraphrased 
thus : — ' It. Jehoshua's decision does not wholly meet 
the present case. As to that, there is a difference of 
opinion. In general, I should say that a reader ought 
not to be stopped except he leave out the three bene- 
dictions specified, because in that case I say he is a 
Min.' It should be observed that this does not 
imply that Jews and Minim were still in the habit 
of worshipping together, and therefore does not con- 
tradict what was said above (p. 204). The Minim 
had their own places of assembly, and did not mix 
with the Jews. But, of course, it might happen, 
and probably did happen from time to time, that a 
Jew inclined gradually towards heresy and joined 
the Minim. His heresy might show itself in the 
recital of the liturgy before he finally broke with 
the Synagogue. There was, accordingly, reason for 
keeping up the use of the detective formula (see 
above, p. 135) ; and it would seem that two other 
prayers, of the eighteen, were made use of for the 
same purpose. 


The Kingdom Turned to Minuth 

(76) M. Sotah, ix. 15.— R. Eliezer the Great 
says .... When the Messiah is at hand, 
insolence will abound .... and the King- 
dom will be turned to Minuth, etc. 

[The latter phrase occurs also b. Sanh. 97 b , 
Shir. r. on ii. 13, p. 17 c , and Der. eretz zuta, 
c. x. In these cases it is ascribed to R. 
Nehemjah. In b. Sanh. 97 b it is repeated 
by R. Jitzhaq.] 
Commentary. — This passage forms part of a piece 
of haggadah appended to the tractate Sotah in the 
Mishnah. Bacher (A. d. Tann., ii. 222, n. 4) seems 
to regard it as not properly belonging to the Mishnah, 
an opinion which I do not venture to call in question. 
The first part of the haggadic appendix contains re- 
flections on the deaths of several Rabbis, ending 
with that of Jehudah ha-Qadosh, the editor of the 
Mishnah. Then follows a retrospect of the religious 
decline which set in after the destruction of the 
Temple. By a natural transition, there follows a 
forecast of the troubles that will immediately pre- 
cede the coming of the Messiah. 1 And one of the 
signs of his coming will be that the Kingdom, i.e. 
the Roman Empire, will be turned to Minuth. As 
the text stands, the author of the saying about the 
Kingdom is R. Eliezer the Great, i.e. R. Eliezer 
ben Horqenos, who has been already frequently 

1 On the doctrine that the advent of the Messiah will be heralded by woes 
and calamities, see Weber, System d. Altsyn. Theologie, 336 ; Drummond, 
Jewish Messiah, p. 209 fol. Matt. xxiv. is almost entirely on the lines of 
current Jewish belief. 


mentioned as one of the leading teachers at the 
end of the first century. No other Rabbi is named 
until the passage containing the forecast of future 
trouble is completed. But it is extremely doubtful 
if the whole passage is from R. Eliezer. The sudden 
changes of language, from Hebrew to Aramaic and 
back again, seem to show that different traditions 
are combined. Probably only the words in Aramaic 
are his, and perhaps not even those. The reference 
to the Kingdom occurs in the Hebrew part. It is 
to be observed that although the remark about the 
Kingdom occurs elsewhere (see references above), it 
is nowhere ascribed to R. Eliezer, except in the 
present instance. In all the other instances it is 
given as the dictum of R. Nehemjah, who was a 
disciple of R. Aqiba, in the middle or latter half of 
the second century. Even as the text stands in the 
Mishnah, it is allowable to argue that the words are 
not expressly ascribed to R. Eliezer, though at first 
sight they seem to be. The most probable explana- 
tion is that of Bacher (loc. cit.) 9 viz., that the saying 
is due to R. Nehemjah, that it, along with other 
similar sayings of his, was incorporated with the 
references to the destruction of the Temple (which 
may have been said by R. Eliezer), and the whole 
passage added to the haggadic conclusion of tractate 
Sotah. That the addition is a very late one is shown 
by the fact that allusion is made to the death of 
Rabbi, i.e. R. Jehudah ha-Qadosh who edited the 
Mishnah. Thus the passage, although included in 
the received text of the Mishnah, is really, as Bacher 
says, a Baraitha (see above, p. 21). It is curious that 
the Palestinian Gemara does not comment on either 


the reference to the destruction of the Temple or 
the forecast of the advent of the Messiah ; certainly 
not in connexion with the end of tractate Sotah, 
and I believe not elsewhere. The same is true of 
the Babylonian Gemara. 

As to the statement itself that the kingdom shall 
be turned to Minuth, there is here no reference to 
the proclamation by Constantine the Great in favour 
of Christianity, a.d. 313. R. Nehemjah lived con- 
siderably more than a century before that event. 
There is not the slightest reason to suspect so late an 
addition to the text of the Mishnah as this would 
imply, nor to father it on R. Nehemjah if it had been 
made. The conversion of the Empire to Minuth is 
merely a way of saying that the spread of heresy and 
the consequent decay of religion will be universal. 
R. Jitzhaq, who also mentions the conversion of the 
Empire to Minuth as a sign of the advent of the 
Messiah, probably lived till the time when Constan- 
tine the Great, by his successive edicts, virtually 
adopted Christianity as the religion of the state. 
But R. Jitzhaq, if he knew of the event, makes no 
special reference to it. He merely repeats the words 
as R. Nehemjah had said them. All, therefore, that 
can be learned from the passage is, that Minuth was 
in the second century sufficiently known and dreaded, 
that it could serve as an illustration of the calamities 
which were to herald the coming of the Messiah. 1 

1 Bacher (A. d. P. Am., ii. 481, n. 5) gives a saying of R. Abba b. Kahana : 
" When thou seest in the land of Israel the seats in the schools filled with 
Minim, then look for the feet of the Messiah," Shir. r. on viii. 9 ; Ech. r. on 
i. 13. The present texts in these places have, not ' Minim ' but ' Babliim,' i.e. 
Babylonians. Bacher, on the authority of Perles, says that this is an ancient 
gloss, and that ■ Minim ' is the original reading. Yet he shows some hesita- 



Here may be added a reference to Christian 

Rome Pretending to be the True Israel 

(77) j. Nedar. 38 a .— R. Aha in the name of R. 
Huna: Esau the wicked will put on his 
6 tallith ' and sit with the righteous in Paradise 
in the time to come; and the Holy One, 
blessed be He, will drag him and cast him 
forth from thence. What is the meaning? 
Though thou mount on high as the eagle, and 
though thy nest be set among the stars, I will 
bring thee down from thence, saith the Lord 
[Obad. 4]. The stars mean the righteous, as 
thou sayest [Dan. xii. 3], They that turn 
many to righteousness [shall shine] as the stars 
for ever and ever. 
Commentary. — The R. Huna here mentioned 
was R. Huna of Sepphoris, a disciple of R. Johanan, 
and must not be confounded with the earlier Baby- 
lonian R. Huna, head of the college at Sura about 
the middle of the third century. R. Aha lived at 
Lydda in the first half of the fourth century. He 
was therefore contemporary with the adoption of 
Christianity as the official religion of the Roman 
Empire. The above passage contains an unmistak- 
able allusion to that event. ■ Esau the wicked ' is a 
stock phrase in the Talmud to denote the Roman 
Empire. That Esau should wrap himself in his 
tallith (the scarf worn by a Jew when praying) means 

tion ; and, indeed, it is easier in this connexion to understand a reference 
to Babylonians than to Minim. I have therefore not included this passage 
in my collection. 


that the Roman Empire, now become Christian, 
pretended to be the true Israel, in accordance with 
the doctrine laid down in Gal. iii. 7. The claim of 
the Christian Church to be the true Israel must have 
been very exasperating to Jews, perhaps all the more 
that the first to teach it had once been a Jew himself. 

I proceed now to give a series of passages which 
may be grouped together under the head of 


I will take, in the first place, some passages which 
mention or describe encounters between Jews and 
Minim. Afterwards, passages containing discussions 
of special doctrinal points. 

The Minim of Capernaum and R. Hananjah, 
Nephew of R. Jehoshtja 

(78) Qoh. r., i. 8, p. 4 b . — Hanina, son of the brother 
of R. Jehoshua, came to Chephar Nahum, 
and the Minim worked a spell on him, and 
set him riding on an ass on the Sabbath. He 
came to Jehoshua his friend, and he put 
ointment on him and he was healed. He [R. 
Jehoshua] said to him, * Since the ass of that 
wicked one has roused itself against thee, thou 
canst no longer remain in the land of Israel.' 
He departed thence to Babel, and died there 
in peace. 

Commentary. — This story occurs in the middle of 
a long passage containing abundant references to 


Minim. The story of the arrest of R. Eliezer for 
Minuth (see above, p. 139 fol.), the attempted cure 
of Ben Damah by a Min (p. 104 fol.), and the story of 
the woman who desired to become a proselyte (p. 188 
fol.), precede the present story. Those that follow 
it will be given afterwards (p. 218 fol.). 

The Midrash known as Qoheleth Rabbah, on the 
book of Ecclesiastes, is of very late date, but never- 
theless contains abundance of ancient material. The 
present story I believe to be ancient, in spite of traces 
of late date in the style, for two reasons. First, the 
motive that suggested it was one that would lose its 
force if the man of whom the story was told had been 
dead for a long time. Second, the references to the 
Minim of Capernaum only occur in connexion with 
persons of the first or second century. At a later 
time they seem to be quite unknown. If, therefore, 
the story had been made up at some considerably 
later date than the time of R. Jehoshua and his 
nephew, it is probable that his alleged intercourse 
with Minim would have had a different historical 
setting. The R. Jehoshua of the story is R. Jehoshua 
ben Hananjah, who has already been frequently 
mentioned, and who lived at the end of the first and 
the beginning of the second century. Hananjah 
(not Hanina as in the text) his nephew, was a well- 
known teacher, though by no means so distinguished 
as his uncle. He did remove from Palestine to 
Babylonia, probably before the outbreak of the war 
of Bar Cocheba. And there he finally established 
himself, although he once at least returned to 
Palestine (b. Succ. 20 b ). Even in the time of R. 
Gamliel II., before he left Palestine, Hananjah 


appears to have been a Rabbi, and to have enjoyed 
a considerable reputation as such (b. Nidd. 24 b ). 
By his residence in Babylonia ! he escaped the perse- 
cution which followed upon the defeat of Bar 
Cocheba ; and it would seem that he took advantage 
of the confusion and weakness of the Palestinian 
schools to assert the independence of his own and 
other Babylonian seats of learning. After order had 
been restored in Palestine, and the scattered Rabbis 
had gathered under the leadership of R. Shimon ben 
Gamliel, a sharp controversy took place between the 
latter and R. Hananjah. Messengers were sent to 
Babylonia to demand the submission of R. Hananjah 
to the authority of the Palestinian Patriarch. The 
story of the dispute is given in j. Nedar. 40 a , j. Sanh. 
19% b. Berach. 63% b , and is admirably discussed by 
Bacher, Ag. d. Tann., i. 390 n. 4. The date of this 
dispute may be roughly given as 150 a.d., possibly 
somewhat earlier. 

Now it was evidently the interest of the Pales- 
tinian Rabbis to depreciate the authority of R. 
Hananjah if they could ; and the suggestion of his 
intercourse with the Minim would answer their 
purpose. Here we find the motive for the story 
contained in the passage translated above. Whether 
true or not, it is evident that there was a reason for 
telling the story. Also it would seem natural that 
the story should become current at a time not long 
after the dispute just mentioned, possibly even while 
it was going on. It does not appear that R. 

1 The name of the place where he lived was Nahar Paqod (or Nahar 
Paqor) ; Bee Neubauer, Geogr. d. Talm., 363 ff. Also, for the name Paqod, 
cp. Schrader, Keilinschrift. d. A. T. 423 (E.T. ii. 117). 


Hananjah ever made any formal submission; but 
there is no doubt that the authority of the Nasi in 
Palestine was successfully asserted as against the 
schools of Babylonia. R. Hananjah was left in peace, 
having failed to realise his ambition. The story 
before us ingeniously presents him as a man for 
whom allowances had to be made. No one disputed 
his learning or his eminence as a teacher, but he had 
unfortunately permitted himself to be tainted with 
heresy, and therefore was obliged to leave the 
country. Such seems to be the intention of the 

In its details the story is very interesting. That 
the Minim here denote Christians there can be no 
possible doubt. The phrase ' the ass of that wicked 
one' contains an unmistakable reference to Jesus. 
And the mention of Chephar Nahum, i.e. Capernaum, 
confirms the reference, that city having been the 
headquarters, so to speak, of Jesus during the earlier 
part of his public career. If Christians were to be 
found anywhere in Galilee in the second century, 
Capernaum was the most likely place to contain 
them. 1 

The story represents Hananjah as having been the 
victim of magic. With this may be compared the 
stories given above (p. 112 ff.) of Christian miracles. 
He was made to ride on an ass on the Sabbath, 

1 I do not go into the question whether Capernaum is now represented 
by Tell Hum or Khan Minyeh. The fact that Minim are associated, in 
the story under consideration, with the city of Capernaum, goes to confirm 
the theory that Khan Minyeh marks the true site. This theory seems to 
me to be, on other grounds, preferable to the one which identifies Capernaum 
with Tell Hum. Is it not possible that ancient Capernaum included both 
sites ? 


presumably as a sort of imitation of Jesus. With 
the mention of the ass in this connexion, compare 
what is said above (p. 154 n). Whether the story 
is based on a real incident in the life of R. Hananjah 
there is not sufficient evidence to show. But the 
case of R. Eliezer, discussed above (see p. 144) is a 
well-authenticated instance of intercourse between 
a Rabbi and a Min, and thus makes it quite possible 
that R. Hananjah also had some dealings with the 
Minim. If he had, then they must have taken place 
before the year 130 a.d. 

It should be observed that this story is not con- 
tained in either the Palestinian or the Babylonian 
Gemara, nor in any of the older Midrashim, although 
R. Hananjah is several times referred to as a well- 
known teacher. In the Midrash Qoheleth rabbah, 
which is the sole authority for the story, there is 
nevertheless a passage which to some extent confirms 
its antiquity. It is said (on vii. 26) that R. Isi of 
Csesarea (fourth century) expounded this verse in 
reference to Minuth, and gave several examples of 
the good who escaped, and the bad who were ensnared. 
Amongst his instances are El'azar ben Damah and 
Jacob of Chephar Sechanja, and also Hananjah and 
the Minim of Chephar Nahum. This shows that the 
story is not necessarily of late date, although it now 
occurs only in an almost mediaeval midrash (see below, 
p. 219). 

The Mintm and R. Jonathan 

(79) Qoh. r., i. 8. — R. Jonathan — one of his 
disciples ran away to them [i.e. the Minim]. 
He came and found him in subjection to 


them. The Minim sent after him, saying thus 
unto him, ' And is it not thus written [Prov. i. 
14], Thou shalt cast in thy lot with us; one 
purse shall there be for us alV He fled, and 
they fled after him. They said to him, * Rabbi, 
come and show kindness to a girl.' He went 
and found them .... with a girl. He said, 
* Is it thus that Jews act ? ' They said to him, 
6 And is it not written in the Torah, Thou shalt 
cast in thy lot with us ; one purse,' etc. He 
fled and they fled after him, till he came to 
the door [of his house] and shut it in their 
faces. They said, ' Rabbi Jonathan, go, prate 
to thy mother that thou hast not turned and 
hast not looked upon us. For, if thou hadst 
turned and looked upon us, instead of our 
pursuing thee, thou wouldst have pursued us.' 
Commentary, — R. Jonathan, here mentioned, is R. 
Jonathan ben El'azar, a Palestinian Rabbi of the 
third century, contemporary with and associate of 
Johanan and Resh Laqish. He lived in Sepphoris. 
The Minim with whom he had the unpleasant adven- 
ture described in this passage may have been those 
of Capernaum, as the present passage follows, without 
a break, after the story about R. Hananjah. The 
connexion is so close that the present story begins 
by saying that the disciple of R. Jonathan ran away 
1 to them/ suggesting that the Minim of Capernaum 
are still referred to. I do not feel certain that this 
connexion is anything more than literary. But it is 
at least probable that Christians of Galilee are referred 
to, and certainly possible that Capernaum is the city 
where they dwelt. If not Capernaum, then Sepphoris 


is probably intended, because Jonathan, when he 
escapes from the Minim, appears to take refuge in 
his own house, since he shuts the door in their faces. 1 

As regards the details of the story little needs to 
be said. It is plain that the words 'And is it not 
written .... fled after him ' should be omitted, on 
their first occurrence, to avoid a break in the story. 
The reference to alleged immorality practised by 
Christians in their secret assemblies does not need to 
be enlarged upon. It should be noted that the 
Rabbi, in rebuking the Minim, implies that they are 
Jews, or at least of Jewish birth. The pursuit of the 
Rabbi by the Minim is curious, and perhaps indicates 
the dread as well as dislike felt by Jews towards the 

This story, like the preceding one, is found only in 
the Midrash Qoheleth rabbah, a compilation of very 
late date. Thus much, however, can be said in 
support of the authenticity of the story, that R. 
Jonathan is known to have had polemical discussions 
with Minim, as will be shown subsequently (see 
below, p. 254). Moreover, the fact that he took the 
trouble to lay down a canon of interpretation of 
Scripture referring to Minuth (Ber. r. 48, 6, see below, 
p. 319), shows that he had had occasion to study the 
subject. With the incident of the flight of a disciple 
and the attempt of his teacher to bring him back, 
may be compared a story quoted by Eusebius from 
Clemens Alexandrinus (Euseb., Hist., iii. 23). The 
conclusion of the story, however, is quite different 
from that of the Jewish one. 

1 See above, p. 115, on Sepphoris as the scene of several incidents in which 
Minim were concerned. 


I proceed to give the conclusion of the passage in 
Qoheleth rabbah, from which the three preceding 
anecdotes have been taken. 

The Minim and R. Jehudah ben Naqosa 

(80) Qoh. r., i. 8. — R. Jehudah ben Naqosa — the 
Minim used to have dealings with him. They 
questioned him and he answered ; they ques- 
tioned and he answered. He said to them, 
* In vain ! ye bring trifles. Come, let us agree 
that whoever overcomes his opponent shall 
split the brains of his opponent with a club.' 
And he overcame them, and split their brains, 
till they were filled with wounds. When he 
returned, his disciples said to him, ' Rabbi, 
they helped thee from heaven and thou didst 
overcome.' He said to them, ' And in vain ! 
Pray for this man and this sack; for it was 
full of precious stones and pearls, but now it is 
full of black ashes.' 
Commentary. — R. Jehudah ben Naqosa was a 
younger contemporary of Rabbi (Jehudah ha-Qadosh), 
and disciple of R. Jacob, and of R. Hija. Very little 
is known of him, and the story just translated occurs, 
so far as I am aware, nowhere else. That the duel 
between R. Jehudah and the Minim really was of the 
savage character described cannot be accepted, though 
it is not clear why a polemical debate should be 
described by such a violent metaphor. The remark 
of the disciples to the Rabbi, and his reply, are inter- 
esting. They ascribed his victory to heavenly assist- 
ance. According to the commentators on the passage, 
R. Jehudah had transgressed the commandment, 


' Come not near her ' (i.e. have nothing to do with 
Minuth ; see above, p. 182 ff.), and thus, if he escaped, 
it was owing to divine protection. The Rabbi replied 
that his deliverance was in vain. ' Pray for this man/ 
i.e. ' for me,' and for ' this sack,' i.e. ' my head,' which 
was formerly like a sack full of jewels and now is like 
a sack full of ashes. Apparently his mind had been 
contaminated with heresy, and was filled with evil 
thoughts in place of its former learning and piety. 

The three stories which have now been given 
from Qoheleth rabbah form one continuous passage, 
together with the story of the arrest of R. Eliezer 
for Minuth, the story of El'azar ben Dama, and that 
of the woman who came to R. Eliezer and R. 
Jehoshua to be received as a convert. All the six 
are given as illustrations of Minuth, and form a 
haggadic exposition of the words, Eccl. i. 8, All 
things are full of weariness. Now, in this same 
Midrash, on vii. 26 (p. 21 d ) it is said 

(81) "R. Isi of Ceesarea expounded this verse 
(' whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her, but 
the sinner shall be taken by her ') in reference to 
Minuth. * The good is R. El'azar, the sinner 
is Jacob of Chephar Neburaia. Or, the good 
is El'azar ben Dama, the sinner is Jacob of 
Chephar Sama. Or, the good is Hananjah, 
nephew of R. Jehoshua, the sinner is the Minim 
of Chephar Nahum. Or, the good is Jehudah 
ben Naqosa, the sinner is the Minim. Or, the 
good is R. Jonathan, the sinner is his disciple. 
Or, the good is R. Eliezer and R. Jehoshua, 
the sinner is Elisha.' " 
Tt is evident at a glance that there is a strong 


likeness between this list of examples of Minuth and 
the series of stories contained in the earlier part of 
the Midrash. Placed side by side, the likeness 
becomes still more apparent. 

(A.) R. Isi's Series (B.) Series of Stories 

(Qoh. r. on vii. 26). (Qoh. r. on i. 8). 

1. El'azar and Jacob of Ch. 1. Eliezer's arrest. 


2. El'azar ben Dama, and Jacob 2. El'azar ben Dama and Jacob 

of Chephar Sama. of Chephar Sama. 

3. Hananjah and the Minim of 3. Eliezer and Jehoshua and the 

Capernaum. would-be convert. 

4. Jehudah ben Naqosa and the 4. Hananjah and the Minim of 

Minim. Capernaum. 

5. Jonathan and his disciple. 5. Jonathan and his disciple. 

6. Eliezer and Jehoshua and 6. Jehudah ben Naqosa and the 

Elisha. Minim. 

It will be seen that four stories are common to 
both lists (A 2, 3, 4, 5, and B 2, 4, 6, 5). In A 6 
Eliezer and Jehoshua are both concerned with a 
heretic. So they are in B 3, though the heretic is 
not the same. The only marked discrepancy is 
between A 1 and B 1. It should also be observed 
that neither series extends beyond the six examples, 
and that the series B is given anonymously where it 
occurs in the Midrash on Eccl. i. 8. Now, since the 
series B is substantially the same as the series A, I 
suggest that R. Isi of Cgesarea is really the author of 
B, and that B gives the substance of what he said 
in his exposition on Minuth, while A only gives the 
heads of his discourse. R. Isi lived in the fourth 
century, probably about the middle of it. And 
although not himself an eminent teacher, he moved 
in the same circle in which Abahu had moved, and 


was thus in a position to hear much concerning the 
Minim and their intercourse with Jews. The slight 
discrepancies between A and B may be explained in 
this way. The compiler of the Midrash preferred to 
take the famous case of R. Eliezer 's arrest rather than 
the obscure one of Jacob of Ch. Neburaia 1 (a con- 
temporary of R. Isi, of whom more will be said 
below). His object was not to illustrate the teaching 
of R. Isi, but to expound the verse Eccl. i. 8 in 
reference to Minuth ; and for this purpose, R. Isi's 
series was ready to his hand. The difference between 
A 6 and B 3 may rest only on a scribal error. The 
opponent of Eliezer and Jehoshua is said in A 6 to 
be Elisha, in B 3 the woman who desired to be 
received as a convert. The latter version is probably 
correct. Elisha is supposed to be Elisha ben Abujah, 
who certainly did become a heretic ; but he had little 
if anything to do with Eliezer and Jehoshua, being 
much younger. He was contemporary with Aqiba and 
Meir. Moreover, it is very unusual to speak of him 
simply as Elisha. I suggest that wh* may be a corrup- 
tion due to similarity of sound, of nwxn, ' the woman.' 

R. Jehoshua, Caesar and a Min 

God has not cast off Israel 

(82) b. Hag. 5 b . And I will hide my face in that 
day [Deut. xxxi. 18]. Raba said, The Holy 

1 Friedlander (Vorchr. jtid. Gnosticismus, p. 108), says that this is " offenbar 
Jacob von Kephar Sechanja," an assumption for which there is no warrant. 
Jacob of Ch. Neburaia was a very well known character, contemporary, or 
nearly so, with R. Isi, who here mentions him (see below, p. 334 fol.). 
Friedlander does not give the text of the passage, and he leaves the reader 
to suppose that the last clause contains the full name ' Elisha ben Abujah.* 
This is not the case, and the fact ought to have been stated. 


One, Blessed be He, saith, Though I have 
hidden my face from them, yet in a dream I 
will speak with him [Num. xii. 6]. R. Joseph 
said His hand is stretched out over us, as it is 
said [Isa. li. 16], In the shadow of my hand have 
I covered thee. R. Jehoshua ben Hananjah 
was standing in the house of Caesar. A certain 
Min 1 showed him [by signs] a nation whose 
Lord hath turned away his face from them. 
He [R. Jehoshua] showed him [by signs] His 
hand stretched out over us. Caesar said to 
R. Jehoshua, ' What did he shew thee V ' A 
people whose Lord hath turned away his face 
from them, and I showed him His hand stretched 
out over us.' They said to the Min, 'What 
didst thou show to him V 'A people whose 
Lord hath turned away his face from them.' 
' And what did he show to thee V ' I do not 
know/ They said, ' A man who does not know 
what is shown him by a sign, one shows it to 
him before the King.' They took him out and 
slew him. 

When the soul of R. Jehoshua was passing 
away, our Rabbis said, ■ What will become of 
us at the hands of the Minim ? ' He said to 
them [cp. Jer. xlix. 7] ' Counsel hath perished 
from the children, their wisdom is corrupted/ 
when counsel hath perished from the children 
[of Israel] the wisdom of the peoples of the 
world is corrupted. 
Commentary. — This is one out of several examples 
to be found in the Talmud and the Midrash of con- 

1 The modern texts read D1")1p*DK ; Rabbinowicz gives po throughout. 


versations between R. Jehoshua ben Hananjah and a 
Roman emperor, the particular emperor being 
Hadrian. These stories are doubtless in some cases 
overlaid with legendary matter ; but there is, beyond 
reasonable question, some historical fact at the bottom 
of them. Not only is it known that Hadrian was in 
the habit of conversing with learned men wherever 
he met them, but he actually mentions in a letter that 
he conversed in Alexandria with a patriarch of 
the Jews. (See the passage quoted by Gratz, Gsch. 
d. J., iv. p. 450, from Vopiscus.) This patriarch of 
the Jews can be no other than R. Jehoshua, who is 
known to have gone to Alexandria. Gratz and 
Bacher both accept the general fact of intercourse 
between Hadrian and R. Jehoshua, and admit the 
genuineness of this particular story. (Gratz as above ; 
Bacher, Ag. d. Tann., i. 176). 

As related in the Talmud, in the present passage 
the story is introduced to illustrate the doctrine that 
although God might have hidden his face from his 
children, nevertheless he had not withdrawn his 
favour ; he still held communion with them and still 
protected them. The latter is the statement of R. 
Joseph, who is presumably the authority for the story 
which then immediately follows. R. Joseph was a 
Babylonian, head of the school of Pumbeditha (b. 259, 
d. 322 or 333). Where he got the story from is 
suggested by a remark in b. Bechor. 8 a , in intro- 
ducing a marvellous tale (also about Hadrian and R. 
Jehoshua) with the words ' R. Jehudah said that Rab 
said,' etc. R. Jehudah (ben Jehezq'el) was the teacher 
of R. Joseph (Bacher, Ag. d. Bab. Amor., p. 101). 
Rab, of course, as the disciple of R. Jehudah ha- 


Qadosh (Rabbi), came in the direct line of the 
Palestinian tradition. The story in Bechoroth lies 
too far off the main line of my subject to justify 
me in translating it. 1 

The story before us needs little explanation. R. 
Jehoshua and the Min stood in the palace, in the 
presence of the emperor. The Min made a panto- 
mimic sign to the Rabbi, intended to signify that 
God had turned away his face from the Jews. The 
Rabbi replied with another gesture implying that 
God's hand was still stretched out over his people. 
The Min must evidently have been acquainted with 
the O.T. scriptures, since both the sign and the 
countersign are dramatized texts (Deut. xxxi. 18, and 
Isa. li. 16). Probably therefore he was a Christian, 
though not necessarily a Jewish Christian, as the 
incident took place in Alexandria. A Jewish Christian 
would scarcely have taunted a Jew with the great 
disaster which had befallen the Jewish people. The 
exchange of pantomimic signs between the Jew and 
the Min attracted the attention of the emperor and 
the other bystanders, who asked for an explanation. 
The Rabbi explained both the gestures. The Min 
professed ignorance of the answer which the Rabbi 

1 Two allusions to Christianity have been suspected in this passage (see 
Bacher, loc. cit). One is the saying, " If the salt have lost its savour, where- 
with do men salt it ? " cp. Matt. v. 13. The other is a reference to a she-mule 
which bore a foal, the allusion being, presumably, to the birth of Jesus from 
a virgin. As regards the first, the saying about the salt may have been a 
proverb quoted by Jesus no less than by R. Jehoshua. And as regards the 
second, there would be more point in it if It. Jehoshua was speaking to 
Christians. His opponents in the story appear to be heathen philosophers 
in Rome. Still, in view of the curious association of Jesus with an ass 
(see above, p. 154), there may be something in the reference to the foal of & 


had made to his sign. They said to him that if he 
had not understood it, he should be shown the 
meaning in the presence of the emperor ; whereupon 
they took him out and put him to death. This 
appears to mean, that as he had not understood that 
the Jews were protected by their God, this should be 
proved to him by the imperial sentence, condemning 
him to death for having insulted a Jew. Whether 
Hadrian would ever have acted so is open to question. 
Certainly, the incident took place before the revolt 
of Bar Cocheba had broken out, at a time when 
Hadrian was well disposed towards the Jews. More- 
over, R. Jehoshua himself appears to have enjoyed 
in a high degree the favour of the emperor, who 
might on that account resent an insult offered to him, 
while perhaps taking no notice of one offered to any 
other Jew. Of course the story is told from the 
Jewish side. It is given as an instance of the success 
of R. Jehoshua in repelling the attacks of the Minim. 
Accordingly, there follows a sort of obituary notice 
of R. Jehoshua, regarded as a defender of the faith. 
When he was dying, the Rabbis said, 'What will 
become of us by reason of the Minim ? ' The dying 
man replied by an ingenious perversion of the text 
Jer. xlix. 7, Is counsel perished from the prudent ? 
Is their wisdom vanished? He rendered it thus, 
1 (When) counsel is perished from the children, (then) 
the wisdom of them [i.e. the Gentiles] is corrupt/ 
The children (D^n = also the prudent, the under- 
standing) are of course the children of Israel. That 
1 their wisdom ' means ' the wisdom of the Gentiles ' 
is the Rabbi's own interpretation. His meaning 

appears to be, that the power of the Gentiles to 



molest ceases with the power of the Jews to defend. 
A somewhat roundabout way of saying that the 
Jewish religion would never want a defender so long 
as it was attacked. 

The date of the death of R. Jehoshua is not known 
with certainty ; but it must have taken place before 
the outbreak of the war in 132 a.d., as he is never 
mentioned in connexion with any of the incidents 
of the war. He must therefore have been an old 
man at the time of the above incident. And it is 
probable that it was during this visit to Alexandria 
that the conversation took place in which the 
emperor (Hadrian) asked him why he did not visit 
the Be Abldan (see above, p. 165). 

R,. Jehoshua and a Min 

(83) b. Erub. 101 a . — A certain Min said to R. 
Jehoshua ben Hananjah, ' Thou brier ! for it is 
written of you [Mic. vii. 4] The best of them is 
a brier' He said to him, ' Fool, look at the 
end of the verse, for it is written [ibid.], The 
upright is (from) a thorn hedge, and a fence.' 
What is [meant by] The best of them is a 
brier ? Just as these briers are a protection to 
the gap in the wall, so the good amongst us are 
a protection to us. Another explanation, The 
best of them is a brier, because they thrust the 
wicked down to Gehinnom, as it is said [Mic. 
iv. 13], Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion. 
For I will make thy horn iron, and I will make 
thy hoofs brass. And thou shalt beat in pieces 
many peoples, etc. 


Commentary. — I give the above passage here 
because it is associated with R. Jehoshua ben 
Hananjah. The classification of the numerous 
passages dealing with the controversies between Jews 
and Minim is not easy. On the whole it seems best 
to give first those in which a discussion takes place 
between a Jew and a Min, and then those in which 
some text is interpreted polemically against the 
Minim. The passages which describe actual dis- 
cussion between opponents will be arranged, as far as 
possible, in the chronological order of the Rabbis who 
took part in them. 

Of the present passage little need be said by way 
of explanation. It is found, so far as I am aware, 
nowhere else, and is anonymous. As the preceding 
words are those of R. Jehudah (ben Jehezq'el), it is 
possible that he is the authority for the story. We 
have seen that other stories concerning R. Jehoshua 
are due to him (see above, p. 223). There is nothing 
to show when or where the incident took place. 
Neither is there anything especially heretical in the 
taunt of the Min. The repartee only serves to show 
how the Rabbi turned aside the scornful gibe of his 
opponent. The thorn hedge serves as a protection 
where there is a gap in the wall, so as to prevent 
intrusion. So the righteous amongst Israel serve to 
defend the people against their enemies, especially 
heretics. The second interpretation, which brings 
in the idea of the thorns thrusting the wicked down 
to Gehinnom, may be later than R. Jehoshua, as it 
is more ferocious in its sentiment than his sayings 
generally are. 


R. Jehoshua, R. Gamliel, R. El'azar ben 


God keeps the Sabbath 

(84) Shem. r., xxx. 9, p, 53 cd .— The case of R n 
Gamliel, R. Jehoshua, R. El'azar ben Azariah, 
and R. Aqiba, who went to Rome and preached 
there that the ways of the Holy One, Blessed 
be He, are not as [the ways of] flesh and 
blood. For [a man] decrees a decree, and 
tells others to do, and himself does nothing. 
But the Holy One, Blessed be He, is not so. 
A Min was there. After they had gone forth, 
he said to them, ' Your words are nothing but 
falsehood. Did ye not say, God saith and 
doeth ? Why does He not observe the 
Sabbath?' They said to him, 'O most 
wicked ! is not a man allowed to move about 
in his dwelling on the Sabbath ? ' He said to 
them, 'Yes.' They said to him, 'The upper 
regions and the lower are the dwelling of 
God, as it is said [Isa. vi. 3], The whole 
earth is full of his glory. And even a man 
that sins, does he not move about to the 
extent of his own stature on the Sabbath?' 
He said to them, 'Yes.' They said to him, 
' It is written [Jer. xxiii. 24], jDo I not Jill 
heaven and earth ? saith the Lord.' 
Commentary. — The journey to Rome of the four 
Rabbis here named is an incident often mentioned 
in the Rabbinical literature. It took place in the 


year a.d. 95. 1 R n Gamliel is Gamliel II., grandson 
of the Gamliel of Acts v. 34, and president (Nasi) of 
the assembly called the Sanhedrin of Jabneh (see 
above, p. 127). R. Jehoshua has been mentioned 
several times. R. El'azar ben Azariah was one of 
the members of the assembly of Jabneh, and during 
the temporary deposition of Gamliel was elected 
president in his place. R. Aqiba has often been 
mentioned previously (see above, p. 84). 

The scene of the ' preaching ' of the Rabbis would 
be one of the synagogues in Rome, where of course 
the Min had been amongst their hearers. It is not 
easy to define the form of heresy of this Min. From 
the fact of his being a listener to the preaching of the 
Rabbis, it would seem that he was of Jewish jzg^ 
traction — like all the Minim whom we have hitherto 
met. ThijTl<r borne out by the quotation of texts 
from" scripture, which would have no authority for a 
Gentile. On the other hand, the point of this 
argument is that God does not keep the Sabbath; 
and a Jewish Christian would not be likely to hold an 
anti- Jewish doctrine of the Sabbath. It should, how- 
ever, be borne in mind that, while the term ' Jewish 
Christian' is usually applied to those Christians of 
Jewish origin who continued to observe the Jewish 
law, nevertheless the possibility always remained that 
Jews, on being converted to Christianity, entirely 
ceased to observe the Jewish law. Paul himself is an 
example of a Jew who became a Christian but by no 
means — in the technical sense — a Jewish Christian. 
It is not, indeed, certain that the Min, in the passage 

1 Bacher, Ag. d. Tann., i. 84, n. 2, where will be found a useful collection 
of references to the event in the Rabbinical literature. 


before us, was a Christian at all. But it is probable that 
he was, since a Christian would be more likely than 
a heathen to be familiar with the O.T. scriptures, 
and to take an interest in the preaching of Jewish 
Rabbis, especially if he himself was of Jewish origin. 

The argument of the Min, that God does not him- 
self observe the Sabbath though he has commanded 
men to observe it, may perhaps be compared with 
the thought expressed in John v. 17, My Father 
worketh even until now, and I work; though it 
by no means follows that the Fourth Gospel was in 
existence at this time. The idea that God never 
ceases from working is found in Philo. 1 

The reply of the Rabbis is ingenious, but it only 
amounts to saying that God's ceaseless energy is no 
proof that he does not keep the Sabbath. The answer 
serves to refute the Min, but not to establish the 
contention of the Rabbis. 

It is curious that, in this story, the four Rabbis are 
grouped together, and it is not said who was the 
spokesman. All four preached, and apparently all 
four replied to the heretic. It is impossible to 
determine which of the four is especially referred to, 
since Gamliel, Jehoshua and Aqiba all had contro- 
versies with heretics at various times, and thus any 
one of the three might have done so in the present 

The abusive term, 'O most wicked,' is, literally, 
' wicked of the world,' i.e. * most wicked man in the 

1 Philo., de AllegOr.,i. 3. iratJeTat yap otSeirore irotwv 6 6e6s, &A\' &srrep ttiiov 
rb Kaitiv irvpbs kclI \i6vos rb tf/t^ew, ovrw teal deov rb iroie?v ' Kal iro\6 76 fj.aA\ov, 
Zay Kal rots &\\ois atcaffiv apxh tov dpav 4<rriv. 


R. Gamliel and the Minim 

The Resurrection of the Dead 

(85) b. Sanh. 90 b .— The Minim asked Rabban 
Gamliel, 'Whence [do ye prove] that the 
Holy One, Blessed be He, revives the dead ? ' 
He said to them, ' From the Torah, from the 
Prophets, and from the Writings.' And they 
did not accept his answer. ' From the Torah,' 
as it is written [Deut. xxxi. 16], Behold, thou 
shalt sleep with thy fathers and arise' They 
said to them [the Minim to R n Gamliel], ' But 
is it not said, and this people shall arise ? ' etc. 
1 From the Prophets,' as it is written [Isa. 
xxvi. 19], Thy dead shall live; my dead 
bodies shall arise. Awake and sing, ye that 
dwell in the dust ; for thy dew is as the dew 
of herbs, and the earth shall cast forth the 
shades. ( But are there not the dead whom 
Ezekiel raised?' 'From the Writings,' as it 
is written [Cant. vii. 9], and thy mouth like the 
best wine, that goeth down smoothly for my 
beloved, causing the lips of them that are asleep 
to speak. ' But, do not their lips move in this 
world ? ' 
Commentary. — Rabban Gamliel appears as the 
representative of Judaism in several dialogues with 
non- Jews. In another part of the treatise from which 
the present passage is taken (b. Sanh. 39 a ), five such 
dialogues are given, in which R. Gamliel replies to 
the questions of an opponent. In the common text 
this opponent is called a liar, is-d ; but Rabbinowicz 


(D. Soph, on the passage), shows that the true 
reading is -id»p, Caesar, an emperor; and he connects 
these dialogues with that visit of Gamliel and the 
other Rabbis to Rome, mentioned in the preceding 
section (see above, p. 228). The reading 'Min' is 
found, according to Hamburger, in the versions of 
the stories in the Midrash and the Yalqut ; but the 
authority of Rabbinowicz is decisive on the point. I 
therefore exclude the dialogues referred to, as having 
no bearing on my subject. 

In the passage under consideration there is nothing 
to show when or where the dialogue took place. 
But, judging from the context, where there follows 
immediately a dialogue between 'the Romans' and 
R. Jehoshua, it is not unlikely that the Minim put 
their question to R. Gamliel in Rome, at the time of 
the journey already mentioned, a.d. 95. This is 
Bacher's suggestion (A. Tann., i. 87, n. 4). The 
doctrine of the resurrection of the dead was one of 
the most frequent subjects of controversy between 
Jews and Minim, as will be seen from several passages 
to be presented below. Neither side disputed the 
fact of resurrection. The question was whether 
there was proof of the doctrine in the O.T. 
scriptures. The Jews of course maintained that there 
was, while the Minim maintained the contrary. The 
controversy could have no interest unless both parties 
were concerned with the Hebrew scriptures ; so that 
it is clearly Christians who are referred to as Minim, 
when the doctrine of resurrection is the subject of 
discussion. The Christian position was that the 
resurrection of the dead was consequent on the 
resurrection of Christ (cp. John xiv. 19, and 1 Cor. 


xv. 20 fol.) And that position would be weakened 
if a valid proof of the doctrine could be produced 
from the O.T. ; because, in that case, the resurrection 
of Christ would be shown to be unnecessary, at all 
events as an argument for the resurrection of men 
in general. 

In the passage before us the Minim challenged R. 
Gamliel to give a proof from the O.T. scriptures 
of the doctrine of resurrection. He replied by 
quoting three texts, one from each of the three 
divisions of the O.T. His opponents did not accept 
his proof. , 

The proof from the Torah was founded on Deut. 
xxxi. 16, where the Rabbi reads the text thou shalt 
sleep with thy fathers and arise contrary to the plain 
sense and the grammatical construction. His oppon- 
ents immediately detected the fallacy and pointed it 
out. The words " and arise " belong to the second half 
of the text, and refer, not to Moses but, to this people. 

The proof from the prophets was based on Isa. 
xx vi. 19, where God calls on the dead to arise. The 
rejoinder of the opponents was to the effect that the 
prophet Ezekiel had called the dead to life by special 
command from God, and that therefore the special 
command did not establish the general principle. 

The proof from the writings was a far-fetched 
application of Cant. vii. 9, where the point is that the 
lips of the dead move, thus showing that they live 
after death. The Minim reply that this movement 
of the lips takes place in the grave, and belongs to 
this world, not to the next. The Gemara adds, in 
support of the view of the Minim, the saying of R. 
Johanan that the lips of the dead move in their graves 


when anyone quotes a halachah which they have 

The Minim, it is said, did not accept these answers 
as amounting to a proof. R. Gamliel therefore 
strengthened his case by quoting Deut. xi. 9, the land 
which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them. 
The land was to be given to " your fathers" not " to 
you" Hence the ' fathers' must live after death. An- 
other tradition says that R. GamlieFs final answer 
was (Deut. iv. 4), Ye that did cleave unto the Lord your 
God are alive, every one of you, this day. This is 
explained to mean that ' as ye stand up, everyone of 
you, this day, so ye will stand up in the world to come.' 

It would appear that the Minim accepted the final 
answer of the Rabbi ; at least the Gemara says that 
they did not accept his answer until he had quoted 
his final text. On the whole, however, it cannot be 
said that a strong case was made out on the Jewish 
side. If the Minim did admit the force of the appeal 
to Deut. xi. 9, with its reference to the patriarchs, it 
is just possible that they did so with the recollection 
that Jesus himself had founded an argument for the 
doctrine of resurrection upon a somewhat similar 
reference to the patriarchs (Matt. xxii. 31, 32). I do 
not press this point, because the Talmud would not, 
in any case, allow the Minim to be the victors in the 
discussion ; therefore we cannot assume that they 
really confessed themselves overcome. At most 
the debate came to an end. It would not have 
been difficult to have refuted even the last argument 
of the Rabbi, by showing that the land promised to 
the fathers was not, as a matter of fact, given to them 
but to their descendants. 


R. Gamliel and a Mtn 

God has Departed from Israel 

(86) b. Jeb. 102 b .— A certain Min said to R. 

Gamliel, 'A people whose Lord has drawn 

off [departed] in regard to them, as it is written 

[Hosea v. 6], They shall go with their flocks 

and with their herds, to seek the Lord, and 

they shall not find Him; He hath drawn off 

from them' He said to him, 'Fool, is it then 

written drawn off in regard to them 2 . It 

is written drawn off from them. If [in the 

case of] a childless widow [the phrase were] 

' the brothers draw off in regard to her,' there 

would be some ground for your argument.' 

Commentary. — In the foregoing translation I have 

used the phrase 'draw off' to represent the double 

meaning of the word halatz (ybn). This word, in 

addition to its ordinary meaning of ' depart,' has also 

a technical meaning in connexion with the law of 

the deceased brother's widow (Deut. xxv. 5-10). 

If a man die leaving no children, one of his brothers 

shall do the duty of a husband towards her. And if 

such brother refuse, then the widow shall perform a 

ceremony expressing contempt of him. She shall 

publicly 'draw off' (halatz) his shoe from his foot, 

spit in his face, and say, Thus shall it be done unto tJie 

man that doth not build up his b?~other's house. In 

this case the widow 'draws off in regard to the 

brother,' performs the ceremony in regard to him 

(n^ yhn); but she does not 'depart from' him; he 

rejects her by refusing to do the duty required of 

him. This is the technical use of halatz, and it 


requires the preposition 'le,' b 9 'in regard to.' The 
non-technical use of halatz, in which the meaning 
is ' depart,' requires the preposition ' min,' |o, ' from.' 

Now the argument of the Min, and the answer of 
Gamliel, will be more intelligible. The Min says, * A 
people whose Lord has rejected them,' halatz ' in 
regard to them' (technical use), for it is said, 
Hosea v. 6, he hath departed from them. R. 
Gamliel at once replies that the text does not bear 
out the construction put upon it. The text reads 
'halatz min,' 'depart from,' which is neutral, and 
only implies estrangement, not that God had rejected 
his people. Even if, as the Min assumed, 'halatz 
min ' were equivalent to ' halatz le,' that would only 
imply, in the text, that the people had rejected God. 
For the purpose of the Min's argument, the text 
ought to read that the people ' haletzu lo ' (technical 
term), implying that God had rejected his people. It 
might be true that there was estrangement between 
God and Israel ; but it was not true that He had re- 
jected his people, they had rather rejected him. If, 
added It. Gamliel, the technical term ' halatz le ' 
was used of the brothers and not of the widow, then 
the argument of the Min would be valid ; because, 
in that case, it would prove that God had rejected 
his people. 

The above explanation is, I believe, correct in sub- 
stance; at all events it brings out the point of R. 
Gamliel's reply, viz., that God had not cast off his 
people. As to the date and place of this dialogue, 
no hint is given in the text. The alleged rejection of 
Israel refers of course to the destruction of Jerusalem 
and the Temple by Titus in a.d. 70. After that 


great disaster, it might well seem that God had re- 
jected his people ; and we shall find that in several 
controversial dialogues the non-Jewish opponent 
taunts the Jew with the loss of the divine protection 
(cp. the story given above, p. 222). In the present 
instance there seems to be no reason for locating the 
incident elsewhere than in Palestine. A knowledge 
not merely of the O.T. scriptures but of the 
Jewish Law is implied on the part of the Min, 
to whom, otherwise, the answer of R. Gamliel would 
have been unintelligible. Probably the Min was some 
Christian of Jabneh, where R. Gamliel dwelt ; though 
whether he was a Jewish Christian is open to question, 
on the ground that one who was himself a Jew would 
scarcely have taunted a Jew with the calamity that 
had befallen the nation. 

Beruria and a Min 

(87) b. Ber. 10 a . — A certain Min said to Beruria, 
'It is written [Isa. liv. 1], Sing, O barren 
that didst not bear. Sing, because thou didst 
not bear.' She said to him, * Fool, look at the 
end of the verse, for it is written [ibid.], For 
more are the children of the desolate, than the 
children of the married wife, saith the Lord. 
But what is meant by O, barren that didst not 
bear, sing ? The congregation of Israel, which 
is like a woman who hath not borne children for 
Gehenna, like you.' 
Commentary. — Beruria was one of the famous 

women of the Talmud. She was the wife of R. 

Meir, and daughter of R. Hanina ben Teradjon. 


Her father was one of those who were executed 
during the persecution of Hadrian after the sup- 
pression of the revolt of Bar Cocheba. Her husband, 
Meir, had been a disciple of Aqiba ; and after his 
death, during the same persecution, Meir was virtually, 
though not officially, the leader of the Rabbis who 
carried on the Tradition. The date of the dialogue is 
therefore the middle, or the latter half, of the second 
century. The place cannot be determined, except 
that it was somewhere in Palestine. Meir lived at 
one time near Liid (Lydda), at another near Tiberias, 
perhaps also in Sepphoris. (See b. Erub. 53 b , j. Sota 
16 b , j. Ber. 5 b ). Beruria, whose name is said to re- 
present Valeria, was almost unique amongst Jewish 
women in being learned in halachah. She might, in 
fact, have been a Rabbi, if she had been a man. An 
opinion which she gave, on a point of halachah, is 
mentioned with approval, T. Kelim ii. 1. The 
dialogue before us shows at least that she knew her 
scriptures well. 

The Min quoted to her part of the verse Isa. liv. 1., 
not applying it indeed to her, because she had 
children, but apparently referring — as the prophet 
had referred — to Zion, as representing the Jewish 
people. Why, he asked, should one that was barren 
sing for joy ? Apparently he meant, why should the 
Jewish people, crushed and decimated by persecution, 
nevertheless rejoice? Beruria answered by bidding 
him first look at the conclusion of the verse, where 
it is said that the children of the barren are more 
than the children of the married wife. Then she re- 
torted by accepting his interpretation of the text and 
turning it against him, 'You say that Israel is like 


a barren woman, and ask why then should she re- 
joice ? Because she does not bear children for Hell, 
such as you.' Her answer shows clearly enough 
the hostility felt by Jews towards the Christians, in 
the second century, at a time when the latter were 
steadily increasing in numbers. R. Meir, the husband 
of Beruria, was the inventor of the nickname Aven- 
giljon to denote the Gospels, which is of course a 
play upon the word evayyikiov, (see above, p. 163). 
Beruria, probably, had no thought in her mind except 
abhorrence of the Minim, when she gave her rather 
severe answer. The expression " children for Hell " 
(Gehenna) suggests a comparison with the phrase 
Matt, xxiii. 15. And while it is exceedingly doubtful 
whether the contents of the Gospel were known to 
the Rabbis, except very imperfectly through hearing 
them referred to or quoted by Christians, nevertheless 
it is not unlikely that Christians should occasionally 
address Jews in the terms of that terrible denuncia- 
tion in Matt, xxiii. And in any case Christians 
could not complain if the terms of the Gospel were 
cast back at them, being as much, or as little, deserved 
on the one side as on the other. Beruria probably 
had never seen the passage in Matthew's Gospel, but 
she may well have heard language not unlike it from 

Rabbi (Jehudah ha-Qadosh) and a Min 

(88) b. Hull. 87 a .— A certain Min said to Rabbi, 
1 He who formed the mountains did not create 
the wind. And he who created the wind did 
not form the mountains, as it is written [Amos 


iv. 13], For, lo 9 he that formeth the mountains 
and [he] that createth the wind.' He [Rabbi] 
said to him, 'Fool, look at the end of the 
verse, The Lord of Hosts is his name' He 
[the Min] said to him, • Give me time, three 
days, and I will refute you.' Rabbi sat three 
days fasting. When he was about to eat, 
they said to him, ■ The Min is standing at the 
gate.' He said [Ps. lxix. 21], They gave me 
also gall for my meat. He [the Min] said to 
him, 'Rabbi, I bring thee good tidings. 
Thine enemy hath not found an answer, and 
hath fallen from the roof and he is dead.' He 
[Rabbi] said to him, 'Wilt thou dine with 
me?' He said 'Yes.' After they had eaten 
and drunk, he [Rabbi] said to him, ' Wilt 
thou drink the cup of blessing or receive forty 
gold pieces ? ' He said, ' I will drink the cup 
of blessing.' There went forth a Bath Qol 
and said, ' The cup of blessing is worth forty 
gold pieces.' R. Jitzhaq said, ' Even yet that 
family exists among the great ones of Rome, 
and they call it the family of Bar Livianos.' 
Commentary. — This curious anecdote is introduced 
by way of illustration into a halachic discussion, and 
is not intended as a haggadic invention. The question 
debated was suggested by the mention of an act re- 
corded of R n Gamliel II. On one occasion a man 
had slain an animal, and before he could fulfil the 
commandment to cover the blood which had been 
shed [Lev. xvii. 13], another man forestalled him, 
thus depriving him of the merit of fulfilling the 
commandment. R n * Gamliel ordered that the second 


man should pay to the first ten pieces of gold, as 
being the equivalent of a commandment. The 
Gemara asks the question whether this sum is the 
equivalent of a commandment or of a blessing 
(benediction), and says that in the case of the "cup 
of blessing " after a meal, if this be regarded as the 
fulfilling of a commandment then the equivalent is 
ten gold pieces ; but if it be regarded as a blessing, 
then the equivalent is forty gold pieces, since there 
are four separate benedictions. The story is intro- 
duced in order to prove that the equivalent of the 
' cup of blessing ' is forty gold pieces ; and the proof 
is given by the fact that Rabbi ( Jehudah ha-Qadosh) 
named that sum to his guest, and also by the 
assertion that a Bath Qol (voice from heaven) de- 
clared that sum to be the equivalent of the 'cup 
of blessing.' 

That is the purpose of the story from the point of 
view of the Gemara. There was no occasion for the 
introduction of a Min, as the guest of the Rabbi, if 
the story had been invented to solve the halachic 
problem. And although the question of the Min to 
Rabbi which opens the story, is the same as a question 
asked of R n . Gamliel by Caesar (b Sanh. 39*, see 
above, p. 231), yet the conclusion of the story is quite 
different. The Min quoted the text Amos iv. 13, 
He thatformeth the mountains and [he that] createth 
the wind, and argued, from the use of two distinct 
verbs, that two distinct creative beings were referred 
to. The Rabbi answered by telling him to look at 
the end of the verse, The Lord of Hosts is his name, 
implying that the Creator was one and not two. The 
Min was not satisfied, and asked for time in which to 



think of a rejoinder. The Rabbi gave him three 
days, and himself spent the time in fasting, being 
apparently in fear of his antagonist. At the end of 
the time, however, another Min comes to his house, 
bringing the ' good tidings ' that the Rabbi's opponent 
had destroyed himself, having been unable to think 
of the rejoinder he desired. In return for his 
welcome news, he was pressed to stay to dinner ; and 
at the end of the meal his host offered him his choice 
between drinking the cup of blessing and receiving 
forty gold pieces. The Rabbi supposed that being a 
Min, he would not care to act as a Jew by making 
the responses after the benedictions, and might prefer 
to receive a reward in money. The Min, however, 
chose the former, whereupon, so the story goes, a voice 
from heaven proclaimed that the equivalent of the 
' cup of blessing ' was forty gold pieces. 

A curious note concludes the story, to the effect 
that ' that family,' presumably that of the Min who 
brought the ' good tidings,' was well known amongst 
the great ones of Rome, and that it was called the 
family of Bar Livianos. 

The Jew in this story is R. Jehudah ha-Qadosh, 
the compiler of the Mishnah, who died a.d. 220, so 
that the incident belongs to the end of the second, 
or the beginning of the third, century. Where it 
took place, there is no evidence to show. Rabbi (as 
Jehudah ha-Q. is usually called) spent the greater 
part of his life in Galilee ; at various times he lived 
in Usha, Shefaram, Beth Shearim and Sepphoris. 
The last-named city may be regarded as especially his 
place of residence, since he dwelt there seventeen 
years and died there. We may suppose that the 


incident of the story before us took place in Sepphoris ; 
and with this agrees the fact that, as we have already 
seen, many of the stories about Minim are located in 

In the story itself, nothing turns upon the particular 
question of the Min to Rabbi. And since this is 
identical with a question addressed to R n Gamliel 
by Caesar, it is possible that it has been borrowed 
from the earlier incidents, the actual question of 
Rabbi's opponent not being known. The interest 
of the story before us is contained in its dramatic 
development. It is certainly surprising that a man 
should commit suicide because he could not refute 
the argument of an opponent. The second Min, 
however, is more interesting than the first ; and the 
remark of R. Jitzhaq, at the end of the story, seems 
to indicate that he was not an unknown man. The 
words in which he delivered his message, W I bring 
you good tidings' (nuio -ikod), might seem to suggest 
evayyekiov ; but the phrase is common in New Hebrew, 
as the N.T. term is in Greek. We cannot therefore 
infer' a reference to the Gospel in the language of 
the Min, though the phrase is certainly appropriate, 
if he was a Christian. He must have been a 
Jewish Christian, since he was evidently familiar 
with the Jewish ceremonial of the benediction 
after the meal, and was willing to take part in it as j 
if he had been a Jew. The friendliness shown 
towards a Min by a Jew in this instance is in sharp 
contrast to the feeling indicated in most of the stories 
concerning the Minim. 

The historical note about the family of this Min 
is a riddle which I have not been able to solve. R. 


Jitzhaq, the authority for it, is, indirectly, the 
authority for the story itself, although it is given 
anonymously. He evidently knew about it, since he 
knew the Min who is mentioned in it. R. Jitzhaq 
was a Babylonian by birth, but spent the greater part 
of his life in Palestine, chiefly in Tiberias (where he 
studied under R. Johanan), and in Csesarea. He 
belonged therefore to the end of the third and the 
beginning of the fourth century. The name ' Bar 
Livianos ' is written in most of the MSS. and early 
texts, 'Bar Lulianos' (see Rabbinowicz on the 
passage), and in one MS. ' Ben Ulianos.' The name 
Lulianos usually represents Julianus. R. Jitzhaq 
said that the family called by this name existed in 
his own time, amongst the great ones of Rome, 1 and 
that the Min was a member of it. It is not clear 
how a Jewish Christian should be a member of a 
great Roman house. Some light is thrown on the 
question by the fact that R. Jitzhaq had a disciple 
whose name was Luliani bar Tabrinai, i.e. Julianus 
bar Tiberianus (see Bacher, Ag. d. Pal. Am., ii. 210, 
n. 7). This man was a Jew, since he was a Rabbi ; 
and his Roman name does not imply Gentile birth. 
Many Rabbis had Greek or Roman names. The 
remark of R. Jitzhaq may accordingly be explained 
thus: the name of the Min was Julianus (or 
Lulianos), a name simply borrowed from a great 
Roman family. R. Jitzhaq's disciple, Luliani, may 
have been a relative of the Min in a younger genera- 

1 This term, however, is sometimes applied to distinguished Komans 
living in Palestine, as in b. A. Zar. 18% where "the great ones of Home" 
attended the funeral of R. Jose b. Qisma, probably in Coesarea, certainly in 
Palestine. The Min in the story is more likely to have been associated with 
a Roman family in Palestine than in Rome. 


tion, and perhaps had the vanity to assert a connexion 
with the Roman family. 


(89) b. Sanh. 38 b . — A certain Min said to R. 

Ishmael ben R. Jose', ' It is written [Gen. xix. 

24], And the Lord rained upon Sodom and 

Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord. 

It ought to have been from himself V A 

certain fuller said [to R. Ishmael], ■ Let him 

alone; I will answer him. For it is written 

[Gen. iv. 23], And Lamech said to his wives, 

Adah and Zillah, hear my voice, ye wives 

of Lamech. It ought to have been my 

wives. But the text reads so, and here also 

the text reads so.' He said, * Whence did 

you get that ? ' ' From the saying of R. 


Commentary. — This anecdote forms part of a long 

passage containing many polemical discussions 

between Jews and non-Jews. These will be dealt 

with, so far as they relate to Minim, in reference to 

the various Rabbis who took part in the dialogue. 

It would have been interesting to present the whole 

passage at once ; but for convenience of explanation 

it is better to break up the material into its component 

parts. R. Ishmael ben Jose was the son of R. Jose 

ben Halaphta, and belonged to the circle of Rabbi 

(Jehudah ha-Qadosh) mentioned in the preceding 

section. He lived, probably in Sepphoris, at the end 


of the second century and the beginning of the third. 
This serves to fix the date of the incident within 
rather wide limits indeed, but otherwise is of no 
importance ; because, although the Min addressed 
his question to R. Ishmael, he was answered, not by 
that Rabbi, but by a bystander who heard the 

The Min quoted Gen. xix. 24, and drew attention 
to the fact that in that text the name of the Lord 
was mentioned twice, The Lord rained .... from 
the Lord. He suggested that this implied the 
existence of more than one divine being. 1 A fuller, 
who heard the remark, asked to be allowed to answer 
the Min. He quoted Gen. iv. 23, where a similar 
grammatical peculiarity occurs in reference to 
Lamech. The inference was that as Lamech was 
only one being, so God was only one. As for the 
form of the phrase, the scripture (or rather the 
author of the scripture) chose to say so, in the one 
text as in the other. On being asked, as it would 
seem by R. Ishmael, where he learned his answer, 
the fuller replied that it was from the teaching of 
R. Meir. Probably R. Meir had used the argument 
in a public address in the synagogue. 

R. Jitzhaq (see above, p. 244), a century later, 
strengthened the argument (Ber. r., § li., p. 105 a , b ) by 
quoting 1 Kings i. 33 and Esther viii. 8 in addition 
to Gen. iv. 23. He did not refer to the use of 
Gen. xix. 24 by the Minim ; but unless this 
text were made use of by heretics, there would 
have been no object in strengthening the counter 

1 On the doctrine of Two divine Powers, see below, p. 261 fol. 

R. Hanina, R. Hoshaia, and a Min 


(90) b. Pes. 87 b .— R. Hoshaia said, ' What is that 

which is written [Judg. v. 11], The righteousness 

of his rule in Israel The Holy One, Blessed 

be He, did righteousness in Israel in that he 

" scattered " them amongst the nations.' And 

this is what a certain Min said to R. Hanina, 

'We esteem ourselves better than you. It 

is written concerning you [1 Kings xi. 16], 

He dwelt there six montfis, etc. This refers 

to us. You have been in our midst these 

many years and we do nothing to you.' He 

said to him, 'Wilt thou allow a disciple to 

join in [the discussion] with thee ? ' R. Hoshaia 

joined in with him. He said to him, ' Because 

ye did not know how ye might destroy us. 

Not all of them [the Jews] are amongst you. 

As for those that are amongst you [if ye 

destroyed them] ye would be called a broken 

kingdom.' He said to him, ' By the Temple 

of Rome ! we are always thinking so.' 

Commentary. — R. Hoshaia belonged to the 

younger generation of the disciples of Rabbi 

(Jehudah ha-Qadosh), and there is some reason to 

believe that the latter, and not R. Hanina, was the 

one to whom the remark of the Min was addressed. 

Rabbinowicz (D. Soph, on the passage) gives a 

reading, 'Jehudah Nesiah' in place of R. Hanina. 

This would naturally denote the grandson of Rabbi ; 

but Rabbi himself is sometimes so called. R. Hoshaia 


is described as a disciple. This would suggest Rabbi, 
rather than R. Hanina, as his teacher, and would 
exclude Jehudah Nesiah. Since, however, the 
question is answered by R. Hoshaia, it is of no 
great importance to whom it was addressed. The 
date of the incident may be placed in the first half 
of the third century. The scene w r as probably 
Caesarea, where R. Hoshaia seems to have spent 
most of his life. 

The story occurs in the middle of a haggadah 
upon the dispersion of Israel among the nations. 
R. Hoshaia explained the text, Judg. v. 11, The 
righteousness of his rule in Israel, by slightly altering 
the word 'his rule,' pirzono, so as to make it read as 
if it were derived from the root pazar, to scatter. 
Whence he drew the moral that God had shown his 
righteousness, had done good to Israel by scattering 
them amongst the nations. In illustration of this 
striking interpretation, the dialogue with the Min is 
added, in which R. Hoshaia virtually explains his 
meaning. The Min quotes the text 1 Kings xi. 16, 1 
He dwelt there six months until he had cut off every 
male in Edom. Edom, said the Min, refers to us (i.e. 
the Romans, according to a very common identifi- 
cation in the Talmud and the Midrash). The argu- 
ment of the Min is this : — Israel showed cruelty to 
Edom in the days of old ; but Edom, i.e. Rome, has 
done nothing to Israel, though for many years Jews 
have been living in the midst of the Gentile nations 
in the Roman empire. Therefore the Romans are 

1 I give this in full. The Talmud often gives only a few words of a 
quotation, although the whole verse is necessary to establish the point with 
a view to which the quotation was made. 


more generous than the Jews. The answer to this 
challenge is given, not by the person addressed, 
whether R. Hanina or Rabbi, but by R. Hoshaia. 
Instead of denying, as he might well have done, the 
alleged forbearance of the Romans towards the 
Jews, he boldly declared that the Romans would 
have killed all the Jews if they had known how. 
But Israel was scattered abroad, and in that fact 
lay their safety. This was the blessing of God in 
scattering Israel, according to the exposition of Judg. 
v. 11 already given. If, continued R. Hoshaia, the 
Romans had killed the Jews who were in their midst, 
their empire would be called a broken kingdom ; the 
reason apparently being that the Jews were good 
citizens and also numerous, so that the destruction 
of them would have been a loss to the empire. The 
Min admitted the justice of the retort. 

There is nothing in this dialogue to distinguish the 
Min from any heathen citizen of the empire, except 
the fact that he was aquainted with the O.T. scrip- 
tures. He could hardly have been a Jew; for, as 
remarked in connexion with another anecdote (see 
above, p. 224), a Jew, even though he were a Jewish 
Christian, would hardly have taunted another Jew 
with the misfortunes or the faults of Israel. The 
Min was probably a Christian ; but as opposed to 
the Jew, it is remarkable that he speaks as a Roman 
citizen, not as a Christian. I need hardly remind the 
reader that the date of this incident must be nearly 
a century earlier than the time when Christianity 
became the official religion of the Roman empire. 
It is impossible to identify this Christian. There is 
some reason to believe that Hoshaia met and con- 


versed with Origen, who was, like himself, resident in 
Caesarea. But there is nothing in the present 
instance to suggest that the Min was a Christian 
bishop. Whatever a layman might do, a bishop 
would hardly swear by the great temple of Rome. 
As Cassarea was the seat of the government, the 
Min may have been some official in the city who 
happened to be a Christian. 

R. Hanina and a Min 


(91) b. Joma 56 h . — A certain Min said to R. 

Hanina, ' Now are ye unclean children, for it 

is written [Lam. i. 9], Her uncleanness is in 

her skirts.' He said to him, ' Come, see what 

is written concerning them [Lev. xvi. 16], 

That dwelleth with them in the midst of their 

uncleanness; at the very time when they are 

unclean, the Shechinah dwelleth in the midst 

of them.' 

Commentary. — There is very little that needs 

explanation in this fragment of dialogue. We have, 

as in other cases, quotation of scripture by a Min, 

with an anti-Jewish purpose. The Min accordingly 

was probably a Christian not of Jewish extraction. 

The point of the taunt to the Jew was the apparent 

abandonment of Israel on the part of God. The 

previous extract (90), shows one way in which the 

Jews met and refuted the insinuation. R. Hanina 


in the present instance gives another. The challenge 
of the Min and the answer of the Rabbi are little 


better than mere word-fencing. The incident only 
serves to show how both Jews and their opponents 
were conscious of the change in the national status 
of Israel since the destruction of the temple by 
Titus, and the final overthrow under Hadrian. The 
Jews were by no means disposed to gratify either 
Christian or heathen by the admission of defeat ; and 
though the sorrow was heavy in his heart, the Jew 
would turn a proud face to the Gentile and meet 
scorn with scorn. 

R. Hanina has already been mentioned, not merely 
in the preceding section, but earlier (see above, pp. 
72, 73). He was of Babylonian origin, and only 
came to Palestine comparatively late in life. He 
lived in Sepphoris, and is thought to have died about 
the year 232. He was more than eighty years old at 
the time of his death. No doubt the interview with 
the Min took place in Sepphoris, a place which has 
already been very frequently mentioned in connexion 
with Minim. 

R. Hanina and a Min 


(92) b. Gitt. 57*. — A certain Min said to R. 
Hanina, 'Ye speak falsely' [in reference to 
the alleged enormous population of Palestine 
in former times]. He said to him, 'A dear 
land it is written of her [Dan. xi. 41]. 
Whereas in the case of this deer, its skin 
does not contain it, so the land of Israel while 
the people lived in it was wide, and now that 
they are now longer living in it, is contracted.' 


Commentary. — This can only be regarded as a 
jeu (Tesprit of R. Hanina. It occurs in a famous 
haggadah concerning the land of Israel, where 
several Rabbis utter the wildest exaggerations as to 
its former fertility and the population of its cities. 
No Rabbi seriously believed that there were " 600,000 
cities on the King's mountain, each of which con- 
tained as many people as came out from Egypt, 
while three cities contained each twice as many." 
A too literal Min, prototype of other Minim in later 
days, was shocked at the monstrous exaggeration, 
and exclaimed to R. Hanina, " Ye lie ! " The Rabbi 
gave him an answer worthy of the occasion, being 
only a witty play upon words. It is written, he said, 
in Daniel xi. 41, a dear land. 1 Now the skin of this 
deer, when it is stripped off, is no longer large enough 
to hold the carcase of the animal; it shrivels up. 
In like manner, the land of Israel was large enough 
to hold all those people while they lived in it. Since 
they have gone, it has shrivelled up, and is no longer 
large enough. You behold it in its shrunken state. 

I have expanded R. Hanina's answer in order to 
bring out the point of it; and I leave it, without 
further comment, as a piece of Rabbinical wit, 
genuine haggadah in its sportive mood. It would 
be ridiculous to treat it seriously, and found upon it 
a charge of falsehood against the Rabbis. 

In b. Kethub. 112 a is a reference to this same 
repartee of R. Hanina, but the play upon the word 

1 More correctly, 'a glorious land.' I have used the word 'dear' in 
order to reproduce the pun. Tzebi means * glory,' and also ' a gazelle ' or 
deer. Thus the words quoted may be rendered either 'a dear (glorious) 
land,' or 'the land is a deer' (gazelle). 


'tzebi' is expanded into a series of similes; and 
although R. Hanina is mentioned, the Min only 
addresses to him a remark upon the actual fertility of 
Palestine. On the same page of b. Kethub. is a 
remark make by a Min to R. Zera, which is found 
in a somewhat different form in b. Shabb. 88 a . 

R. Jannai, R. Jonathan, and a Min 


(93) Ber. r., § 82, p. 155 b . — And Rachel died and was 
buried [Gen. xxxv. 19]. Burial followed close 
on death, in the way to Ephrath (the same is 

R. Jannai and R. Jonathan were sitting. 
There came a certain Min and asked them, 
* What is that which is written [1 Sam. x. 2], 
When thou art departed from me this day [thou 
shalt find two men by Rachels tomb, in the 
border of Benjamin at Zelzaft]? Is not 
Zelzah in the border of Benjamin, and the 
tomb of Rachel in the border of Judah ? As 
it is written [Gen. xxxv. 19], and she was 
buried on the way to Ephrath, and it is written 
[Mic. v. 2], Bethlehem Ephrathah' R. Jannai 
said to him [Isa. iv. 1], • Take away my 
reproach' \ [R. Jonathan] said to him '[the 
text means], When thou departest from me this 
day by Rachels tomb, thou shalt find two men 
in the border of Benjamin at Zelzah' Others 
say [that the answer of R. Jannai was] ■ When 
thou departest from me this day in tJie border 


of Benjamin in Zelzah, thou shalt find two men 
by the tomb of Rachel,' and this is the correct 

Commentary. — The difficulty which prompted the 
question of the Min was as to the locality of Beth- 
lehem. According to Mic. v. 2 [v. 1 Hebr.] Beth- 
lehem Ephrathah is in the land of Judah. According 
to Gen. xxxv. 19, Rachel was buried in the way 
to Ephrathah, which is Bethlehem. But it is said in 
1 Sam. x. 2, Rachels tomb in the border of Benjamin 
at Zelzah. Whence it would seem that Bethlehem 
Ephrathah was also 'in the border of Benjamin/ 
This contradiction is several times referred to in the 
Rabbinical literature, and various solutions of it given. 
Bacher [A. d. T., ii. 50, n. 5] mentions one by R. Meir, 
but does not give the reference. There is also one in 
T. Sot., xi. 11, where no author's name is mentioned. 

In the story before us a Min came to where R. 
Jannai and R. Jonathan were sitting, and asked them 
to explain the difficulty. R. Jannai apparently was 
unable to do so, and turning to R. Jonathan said, in 
the words of Isaiah [iv. 1], ' Take away my reproach? 
i.e. ' Help me out ; do not let me lie under the re- 
proach of being unable to answer.' (This is the inter- 
pretation of the commentary ' Japheh Toar ' upon the 
passage.) R. Jonathan accordingly explained the 
verse, in one or other of two ways, both of which are 
given. The point of his answer is that ' in the border 
of Benjamin at Zelzah ' denotes a different place from 
that where Rachel's tomb was. Therefore, there was 
nothing to prove that Bethlehem Ephrathah, the site 
of the tomb, was not in the land of Judah. 

The interest of the dialogue, for the purpose of this 


work, lies in the fact that a Min should come and 
consult a Rabbi upon a question of interpretation of 
scripture. This shows that the relations between the 
Jews and the Minim were not always hostile. 

R. Jannai and R. Jonathan both lived in Sepphoris, 
and were contemporary with R. Hanina mentioned in 
the preceding sections. R. Jonathan is the same 
whom we have already met with as having an un- 
pleasant adventure with the Minim (see above, p. 215). 
The Min in the present instance is evidently a Jewish ~ 
Christian, since no one else (except a Jew) would be 
interested in the interpretation of the texts about 
Bethlehem. The importance of these texts was the 
same both for Jews and for Jewish Christians, since 
upon them depended the question of the birthplace 
of the Messiah. The prophecy Mic. v. 1 was inter- 
preted of the Messiah, as is shown by the Targum on 
the passage, 1 and also by the quotation in Matt. ii. 
4-6. It was therefore a difficulty for Jewish Chris- 
tians as well as for Jews, that the text in 1 Sam. 
appeared to contradict the prophecy in Micah. That 
the interpretation of R. Jonathan was contrary to the 
plain meaning of the text is of small importance. 


(94) j. Ber., 12 d , 13 a .— The Minim asked R. Simlai 
how many gods created the world ? He said 
to them, Do ye ask me? Go and ask the 
first man, as it is written [Deut. iv. 32], Ask 

1 Targum on Mic. v. 1 :— KTWD p1D> Wp "|3D. 


now of the former days which were before thee, 
since God created man upon the earth. It is 
not written here (they) created, but (he) 
created. They said to him, It is written 
[Gen. i. 1], In the beginning God created. 
He said to them, Is it written (they) created ? 
It is only written (he) created. 

R. Simlai said, * In every passage where the 
Minim go wrong, the answer to them is close 


They (the Minim) returned and asked him, 
' What of that which is written [Gen. i. 26], 
Let us make man in our image, after our 
likeness.' He said to them, * It is not written 
here [ib. 27], And they created man in their 
image, but And God created man in his image.' 
His disciples said to him, 'Rabbi, thou hast 
driven away these men with a stick. But 
what dost thou answer to us?' He said to 
them, ' At the first, Adam was created out of 
the dust, and Eve was created out of the man. 
From Adam downwards [it is said] in our 
image according to our likeness. It is im- 
possible for man to exist without woman, and 
it is impossible for woman to exist without 
man, and it is impossible for both to exist 
without the Shechinah.' 

And they returned and asked him, 'What is 
that which is written [Josh. xxii. 22], God, 
God the Lord, God, God the Lord, he 
knoweth. He said to them, ' It is not written 
here (they) know, but it is written (he) 
knoweth.' His disciples said to him, 'Rabbi, 


thou hast driven these men away with a stick. 
But what dost thou answer to us ? ' He said 
to them, ' The three [names] are the name of 
one, just as a man says, Basileus, Caesar, 

They returned and asked him, 'What is 
that which is written [Ps. 1. 1], God, God tlte 
Lord hath spoken and he called the earth.' He 
said to them, * Is it written here (they) have 
spoken and have called? It is only written, 
(he) hath spoken and hath called the earth.' 
His disciples said to him, 'Rabbi, thou hast 
driven these men away with a stick. But 
what dost thou answer to us ? ' He said to 
them, 'The three [names] are the name of 
one, just as a man says, labourers, masons, 

They returned and asked him, 'What is 
that which is written [Josh. xxiv. 19], For he 
is a holy God' [where the word 'holy' is 
plural]. He said to them, ' It is written there 
not they are holy, but he [is holy], (He is a 
jealous God.)' His disciples said to him, 
' Rabbi, thou hast driven these men away with 
a stick. What dost thou answer to us ? ' R. 
Jitzhaq said, ' Holy in every form of holiness." 
For R. Judan said, in the name of R. Aha, 
' The way of the holy One, Blessed be He, is 
in holiness. His word is in holiness, his 
sitting is in holiness, the baring of his arm 
is in holiness. He is fearful and mighty in 
holiness. His ways are in holiness [as it is 
written, Ps. lxxvii. 13], Thy way, O God, is 



in the sanctuary. His footsteps are in holiness 
[Ps. lxviii. 24], The goings of my King, my 
God, in the sanctuary. His sitting is in 
holiness [Ps. xlvii. 8], God sitteth upon the 
throne oj his holiness. His word is in holiness 
[Ps. cviii. 7], God hath spoken in his holiness. 
The baring of his arm is in holiness [Isa. lii. 
10], The Lord hath made bare his holy arm. 
He is fearful and mighty in holiness [Exod. 
xv. 11], Who is like thee, glorious in holiness 
[fearful in praise] ? 

They returned and asked him, ■ What is 
that which is written [Deut. iv. 7], For what 
great nation is there that hath a God, so nigh 
unto them, as the Lord our God, whensoever 
we call upon him% ' He said to them, ' It is not 
written here call upon them, but call upon him.' 
His disciples said to him, 'Rabbi, thou hast 
driven away these men with a stick. What 
dost thou answer to us ? ' He said to them, 
1 He is near in every manner of nearness.' 

The above passage is contained, with but 
slight variations, in Ber. r., viii. 9. Parts of it 
are found in Shem. r., xxix., Debar, r., ii. 
Commentary. — R. Simlai, of Babylonian origin, 
lived in Palestine, and for the most part in JLydda. 
He spent some time, however, in Galilee, where he 
became the friend and attendant of R. Jannai. He 
thus belonged to the same circle as the Rabbis men- 
tioned in the sections immediately preceding the 
present one. The date of the story may be given as 
| about the middle of the third century. I am inclined 
to think that R. Simlai lived in Lydda after his so- 


journ with R. Jannai in Galilee. He is referred to in 
the Babylonian Gemara, A. Zar. 36% as R. Simlai of 
Lydda. It seems natural to suppose that he was 
head of an academy after, and not before, being the 
disciple and attendant of R. Jannai. But the data 
for fixing the chronology of his life are scanty and 
somewhat contradictory (see Bacher., A. d. Pal. Am., 
i. 552 fol. ; also Gratz, G. d. J., iv. 265). 

The long passage translated here contains the 
fullest account of the discussions between R. Simlai 
and the Minim. Moreover, as it is given in the 
Palestinian Gemara, it is the nearest in time to the 
date when the incidents related took place ; and not 
only so, but R. Simlai was the associate of the Rabbis 
who represent the main line of tradition embodied 
in the Palestinian Gemara. We may therefore infer 
that the series of dialogues here recorded contains 
the substance of actual discussions between R. Simlai 
and the Minim. That is to say, we may be certain 
that the doctrinal question which forms the basis of 
all the dialogues was really debated, that the texts 
quoted were really those used by the Minim, and that 
the replies of R. Simlai contain the actual arguments 
used in refutation of the heretical exegesis. It need 
not be supposed that all the six dialogues took place 
in immediate succession. This is unlikely, from the 
fact that some of the answers are mere repetitions. 
R. Simlai probably had several encounters with the 
Minim at various times; and the passage before us 
may be considered as a list of these, arranged accord- 
ing to the texts made use of. The phrase, 'the 
Minim returned and asked,' hardly means more than 
that ■ on another occasion they asked.' 


It will be observed that in every dialogue but the 
first the disciples of R. Simlai asked him to give 
them a reply other than that which he had given to 
the Minim. In each case the curious phrase occurs, 
'Rabbi, thou hast driven these men away with a 
stick.' This appears to mean, ' thou hast put them 
off with a mere quibble,' instead of dealing seriously 
with their question. So, at all events, the disciples 
seem to have intended the phrase. Yet the answers 
which the Rabbi gave to the Minim were surely more 
to the point than those which he gave to his disciples. 
Those who argue from plural nouns are adequately 
refuted with singular verbs. And it must be remem- 
bered that the written text of Scripture was, for both 
parties in the controversy, the final authority. The 
time is, even now, not so far distant when similar 
questions were decided by appeal to texts. The 
intention of the disciples in asking for other explana- 
tions was perhaps that they wished for an interpreta- 
tion of the text without reference to its polemical use, 
an indication of what it did mean rather than of what 
it did not mean. R. Simlai did not always succeed 
so well in positive exposition as he did in controver- 
sial negation. His explanation of the words, let us 
make man, etc., is no explanation. The words were 
used before the creation of Adam and Eve, and could 
not gain their meaning from what was only possible 
after that event. If this be dismissed as absurd, then 
the alternative seems to be that R. Simlai regarded 
the account of the creation in Gen. ii. as a record of 
events prior to those related in Gen. i., so that Adam 
and Eve were already in existence when God said, 
Let us make man, etc. I suspect that R. Simlai was 


quite unable to explain the use of the plural in let us 
inake man, etc., and escaped from the difficulty by a 
piece of haggadah, striking but irrelevant. 

His answers to the argument from the triple de- 
signation of God are reasonable enough. It is 
curious that the interpretation of the phrase con- 
cerning the holiness of God is ascribed, not to R. 
Simlai, but to R. Jitzhaq, a younger contemporary, 
and not impossibly one of R. Simlai's own disciples. 
It is nowhere said indeed, so far as I know, that 
there was this relationship between the older and 
the younger man ; but it is noteworthy that, in the 
last of his explanations, R. Simlai uses the same idea 
as that which R. Jitzhaq had used in reference to 
4 holiness,' a fact which would seem to suggest 
that R. Simlai took up the idea, on hearing his 
disciple expound it, having himself been unable to 
explain the text to which Jitzhaq applied it. If 
this be thought to be too far-fetched, then the con- 
clusion is that R. Simlai's own explanation had been 
forgotten, or that he never gave one, and that the 
compilers of the Gemara inserted the later explana- 
tion of R. Jitzhaq in this appropriate place. 

The question, so often asked in preceding sections, 
Who are the Minim referred to in the passage? is 
of special importance here, because the controversy 
recorded turns upon a great theological subject. It 
is known, and frequently referred to in the rab- 
binical literature, as the doctrine of 'Two Powers 
in Heaven.' And as the present passage is the 
longest which treats of that subject, here will be 
the best place to discuss it. Other passages having 
reference to this doctrine will be given later, and 


mention has already been made of it. But it will be 
convenient to inquire here, once for all, what is the 
doctrinal implication of the phrase, ' Two Powers in 
Heaven.' We shall then have a means of deciding 
in other passages, as well as in the present one, Who 
were the Minim who held the doctrine ? 

The phrase itself, ' Two Powers in Heaven,' occurs 
in Siphri, § 329, p. 139 b . More often it occurs in the 
shorter form ' two powers,' as in Mechilta 66 b , and 
elsewhere. But in every case it is implied that the 
two powers are supposed to be in heaven. It is 
evident, therefore, that the doctrine referred to is 
not that of a dualism consisting of a good and an 
evil power, hostile to one another. The doctrine of 
the Two Powers cannot be that of the Persian, or 
the Manichgean dualism ; because, according to those 
systems, the evil power certainly did not work in 
conjunction with the good power in the creation of 
the world or in anything else. The Persian dualism, 
comprising Ahuramazda and Ahriman, is referred to 
in the Talmud, in a polemical discussion, b. Sanh. 
38 b , and it is worth notice that the opponent of the 
Jew is there called a Magus and not a Min. There 
are, it is true, instances where the term Min is used, 
and where a Persian is almost certainly intended 
(see b. Ber. 58 a ), but this does not occur in reference 
to the doctrine of the Two Powers. 

The various Gnostic systems maintained a dualism, 
or rather a plurality, of superhuman Powers ; and 
the Jews of Palestine were more likely to come into 
contact and collision with Gnostics than with the 
adherents of the forms of religion just mentioned. 
Is the doctrine of the Two Powers, then, a Gnostic 


doctrine? It was one of the main tenets of most 
Gnostic systems that the world was created by the 
Demiurgus, an inferior God, regarded as an emana- 
tion from the supreme Deity, and far removed from 
him. The Demiurgus was, by some Gnostics, 
identified with the God of the Jews; and the 
superiority of Christianity over Judaism was ex- 
plained by saying that the latter was the religion 
whose object of worship was the Demiurgus, while 
the former was the revelation, through Christ, of the 
supreme God. Neither Christ, nor the supreme God, 
according to Gnostic teaching, had any share in 
creating the world. Christ certainly not; and the 
supreme God only so far as he willed it, and dele- 
gated the task to the inferior being, the Demiurgus. 
The whole point of the Gnostic doctrine was that 
the supreme God should be thought to have no 
immediate contact with the world of matter. 

Now the doctrine of the Two Powers in Heaven, 
which is ascribed in the Talmud and the Midrash 
to the Minim, is almost always mentioned in con- 
nexion with the creation of the world. And the 
texts which are urged against it are such as to show 
that not only did the supreme God himself create 
the world, but that he did so alone, without any 
associate. And the refutation is always directed 
especially to the second point. The Gnostics cer- 
tainly did not teach that creation was the work of 
the supreme God ; but equally they did not teach 
that it was the work of two deities acting together. 
Hence it would seem that the doctrine of the Two 
Powers is not a Gnostic doctrine; and the only 
exception is perhaps this, that where the two powers 


are referred to in connexion with some other subject 
than the creation of the world, there may be — I do 
not say there is — a reference to Gnosticism. 

There remains the question whether the doctrine of 
the ' Two Powers in Heaven,' associated in creation, 
was a Christian doctrine? And in answering that 
question it must be borne in mind that we are not 
at liberty to range through all the various forms of 
Christianity taught in the first three centuries, but 
must confine our attention to those which may 
reasonably be supposed to have been familiar to the 
Christians of Palestine. Now a doctrine of two 
powers in heaven, associated in creation, is clearly 
taught in the Epistle to the Hebrews. The opening 
words of that epistle are (Heb. i. 1) : God .... 
hath, at the end of these days, spoken unto us in his 
Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through 
whom also he made the worlds. Whatever may be 
the precise meaning of ' worlds ' (alwvas), it certainly 
includes that of the world of which God, according 
to the O.T., was the creator. The relation of Christ 
to God in the theology of the Epistle to the 
Hebrews was quite different from that of the 
Demiurgus to God, in the Gnostic systems. And 
the difference consists in the fact that the Demi- 
urgus was placed as far off from God as was con- 
sistent with his retaining a spiritual nature, while 
Christ was regarded, in the epistle, as in closest 
possible union with God, short of actual identity of 
person or complete equality of rank. The theology 
of the Epistle to the Hebrews might, from the 
Jewish point of view, be naturally described as a 
doctrine of Two Powers in Heaven, or even as a 


doctrine of two Gods. The same might be said of 
the purely Pauline and the Johannine theologies, 
from the Jewish point of view. It is therefore 
evident that the doctrine of Two Powers, which is 
ascribed to the Minim in the Talmud, is a Christian 
doctrine. 1 

Of the three types of Christian theology just 
mentioned, the one most likely to be found amongst 
the Christians with whom the Jews of Palestine 
came into contact, is, beyond question, that of the 
Epistle to the Hebrews. Whatever may be the 
place of origin, or the destination of that Epistle, it 
was addressed to Jewish Christians ; and it is not 
unreasonable to suppose that it would become 
generally known amongst Jewish Christians where- 
ever they might be, whether in Rome or in Palestine. 
That the Epistle to the Hebrews was known, not 
merely to the Jewish Christians of Palestine, but to 
the Rabbis, is indicated by a polemical reference 
(b. Nedar. 32 b ) to the priesthood of Melchizedek, 
upon which is founded one of the characteristic 
doctrines of the Epistle to the Hebrews. [The 
passage will be translated (139) and explained below, 
see p. 338.] This polemical reference was made by 
R. Ishmael, whom we have already met with several 
times as an opponent of Minim [see above, pp. 105, 
130, 156], and dates from the early years of the 
second century. 

We may, therefore, conclude that the theology of 

1 This is shown clearly by a passage (95) in Pesiqta. r., ixi. pp. 100 b , 101% 
"If the son of the harlot [i.e. Jesus] say to thee, ' There are two gods,' say to 
him, * I am He of the Red Sea, I am He of Sinai ' " [i.e. there are not two 
gods but one], A few lines further down, the same argument is met by 
the text, ' God spoke ' [sing, not plur.]. See below, p. 304. 


the Epistle to the Hebrews was known to, and 
accepted by, the Jewish Christians of Palestine early 
in the second century, and that the doctrine of the 
Two Powers in Heaven is the Jewish description of 
the doctrine of that Epistle, concerning the relation 
of Christ to God. Whether all Jewish Christians, 
in Palestine or elsewhere, adopted the Christology 
of the Epistle to the Hebrews, must remain an open 
question. It is quite likely that some of them 
adhered to the primitive doctrine as to the person 
of Jesus, which did not in any way trench upon 
the Jewish conception of the Unity of God. There 
were certainly different sects or parties amongst the 
Jewish Christians, as is shown by the names Ebionite 
and Nazarene. And it is possible that the former 
term denoted those who did not accept the Christ- 
ology of the Epistle to the Hebrews. The solution 
of this question I leave to New Testament scholars. 

As regards the main subject of this book, it may 
now be taken that the term Minim includes Jewish 
Christians holding a theology similar to that of the 
Epistle to the Hebrews. In the concluding division 
of this work I shall endeavour to place this fact in 
its proper relation to the general history of the 
Jewish Christians. 

R. Abahu, R. Saphra, and the Minim. 

(96) b. A. Zar. 4 a .— R. Abahu commended R. 
Saphra to the Minim as being a great man. 
They remitted to him thirteen years' tolls. 
One day they found him. They said to him, 
6 It is written [Amos iii. 2], You only have I 


known, of all the families of the earth, therefore 
I will visit upon you all your iniquities. One 
that hath anger, would he vent it against his 
friend ? ' He was silent, and said to them 
nothing at all. They put a towel over his 
head and railed at him. R. Abahu came and 
found them. He said to them, ' Why do ye 
rail at him ? ' They said to him, ' And didst 
not thou tell us that he was a great man? 
Yet he does not know how to tell us the 
explanation of this text.' He said to them, 
'I said this to you of him as a Talmudist. 
Did I ever say so of him as a Scripture- 
teacher?' They said to him, 'Why are ye 
different, and know [how to explain scrip- 
tures]?' He said to them, 'We, who live 
in your midst, give our minds to it and 
examine [the scriptures]. They [i.e. the 
Babylonians] do not examine them.' They 
said to him, 'Do thou tell us.' He said to 
them, 'I will make a parable of what the 
thing is like. [It is like] a man who lends 
to two men, one his friend and the other his 
enemy. He recovers [payment] from his 
friend little by little, but from his enemy all 
at once.' 
Commentary. — The date of this very curious 
incident is the beginning of the fourth century. R. 
Abahu, already mentioned, was the disciple of R. 
Johanan, and lived in Caesarea. R. Saphra was a 
Babylonian, on a visit to Palestine, and is well known, 
though not prominent, in the history of the Talmudic 
tradition. No doubt was ever expressed of his entire 



loyalty to the Jewish religion. Yet here we find 

him, and that, too, on the recommendation of It. 

Abahu, accepted by the Minim as a teacher. From 

the fact that they remitted to him thirteen years' tolls, 

it would seem that they engaged him as their teacher, 

offering him at least an honorarium if not a salary. 

This fact is important for the history of the Minim, 

as bearing on their relation to Judaism. There is, so 

far as I know, nothing in the scanty notices of R. 

Saphra, to be found elsewhere in the Talmud, that 

throws any light upon the incident here related. He 

was held in high esteem in Babylonia, where it was 

triumphantly reported (b. Gitt. 29 b ) that he had, in 

a judicial decision, proved three ordained Rabbis of 

Palestine to be in error. He was intimate with 

Abahu, and it is perhaps worthy of note that it was 

he who reported in Babylonia, on the authority of 

Abahu, the account of the abortive schism of 

Hananjah, nephew of R. Jehoshua, concerning whom 

the allegation of Minuth had been made (see above, 

p. 211). It does not appear, however, that R. Saphra 

knew anything of the story about Hananjah's 

adventure with the Minim of Capernaum. There 

is something so strange in the assertion that a Rabbi 

so well known as Saphra should become a teacher 

amongst the Minin, that one is inclined to suspect a 

confusion between the well-known Saphra and some 

obscure man of the same name. But there is no 

evidence for this. Abahu speaks of Saphra as a great 

man, and a Babylonian. And there is no hint of any 

other being intended than the R. Saphra elsewhere 

mentioned, who, moreover, is known to have been an 

associate of Abahu. There is no ground whatever for 


dismissing the story as a fiction. The time in which 
Abahu lived was not so remote but that the traditions 
of his school were well known when the Babylonian 
Gemara was compiled; The incident under discussion 
would not be less strange even if the Rabbi concerned 
were not the well-known Saphra. What is remarkable 
is that any Rabbi should have become a teacher 
amongst the Minim. And if such an occurrence had 
never been known, it is not likely to have been 
invented. If it had been invented, and related by 
way of a jest against R. Saphra, the story would have 
done more justice to the jest and not have mentioned 
the alleged fact as a mere matter of course. 

Bacher (A. d. Pal. Am., ii. 96 f.) suggests that R. 
Saphra was engaged by the Minim not as a teacher 
but as an assistant in collecting the Imperial revenue, 
which they farmed. This is on the strength of the 
phrase, " remitted to him thirteen years' tolls." But 
this suggestion, even if it be deemed a fair inference 
from the phrase just quoted, does not solve the 
difficulty. For the Minim were annoyed with him 
on account of his ignorance of Scripture, not of his 
blundering in finance. If they had engaged him as 
an accountant, they could not have charged Abahu 
with having given a misleading recommendation, 
when R. Saphra failed as an interpreter of 
Scripture. It is possible that the collection of the 
tolls in Csesarea was in the hands of a Christian ; but 
it is not clear what is meant by the remission of 
* thirteen years' tolls.' All that can be said is that 
the Minim made some sort of a present to R. Saphra, 
in return for the benefit which they hoped to derive 
from his services. 


I see no alternative but to accept the story as 
showing that the relations between the Minim and 
the Jews, at all events in the beginning of the 
fourth century, were not always hostile. That the 
Minim here mentioned were Jewish Christians, and 
of a strongly Jewish type, is evident from the fact 
that a Jewish Rabbi of unquestioned orthodoxy could 
be acceptable to them. That they were heretics is 
plain from Abahu's answer to them. The story itself 
needs little further explanation. The Minim were 
dissatisfied with their new teacher, and asked R. 
Abahu why it was that the stranger could not explain 
the Scriptures, while Abahu and the Jews of Csesarea 
were able to do so. The answer was that the necessity 
of refuting the Minim in controversy made them study 
the Scriptures very closely. The Babylonian Jews, 
who did not encounter Minim, had no inducement to 
such close study. This is of some importance as 
showing that the Minim were confined to Palestine, 
or, at least, were not numerous elsewhere. 

R. Abahu, at the request of the Minim, gave his 
own interpretation of the text (Amos iii. 2) in the 
form of a parable. The Jews, being favoured by God, 
received the punishment of their sins by instalments, 
so that they might not be too severely dealt with. 
The other nations will receive their punishment once 
for all and will suffer in proportion. 

R. Abahu and the Epiqurosin. Enoch 

(97) Ber. r., xxv. 1, p. 55°. — The Epiqurosin asked 
R. Abahu, they said to him, ' We do not find 
death in the case of Enoch.' He said to them, 


1 Why ? ' They said to him, ' There is men- 
tion here [Gen. v. 24] of "taking," and there 
is mention elsewhere [2 Kings ii. 5], to-day the 
Lord taketh away thy master from thy head,' 
He said to them, ' If ye are arguing from the 
idea of "taking," there is mention here of 
" taking," and there is mention elsewhere 
[Ezek. xxiv. 16], BeJiold, I take away from 
thee the desire of thine eyes.'' R. Tanhuma 
said, *R. Abahu has answered them well/ 
Commentary. — The Epiqurosin, here mentioned, 
are no doubt the same as the Minim. Bacher (A. d. 
Pal. Am., ii. 115 n. 4) gives * Minim,' but does not 
mention the edition of the Ber. r. from which he 

The point of the dialogue is obvious. The Minim 
seem to have wished to show that Enoch was a type 
of Jesus, as regards his ascension into heaven. In 
support of their contention, that the words (Gen. v. 
24), and God took him, did not imply death, they 
quoted 2 Kings ii. 5, where the same word is used of 
Elijah on his ascent into heaven. R. Abahu refuted 
the argument by giving an instance (Ezek xxiv. 16) 
where the use of the word clearly implied death. It 
is true that there is here no direct allusion to Jesus, 
but unless such an allusion was intended there would 
seem to be no reason why the Minim should contend 
that Enoch did not die, nor why R. Abahu should 
have refuted their contention. At the same time, it 
is not easy to see why Elijah should not have served 
as the type of Jesus, since even Abahu admitted the 
fact that he did not die and that he did ascend to 
heaven. I leave it to those who are familiar with 


the early Christian writings to say whether Enoch is 
ever regarded as a type of Jesus in reference to his 
ascension. In Ep. Hebr. xi. 5, a writing which was, 
as we have seen, known to the Minim (above, p. 265), 
Enoch is mentioned, but only as an instance of faith. 
It is there stated, however, that Enoch did not die. 
It is possible that in the dialogue before us there is 
no reference to Jesus, but merely a defence of a 
Christian text against a Hebrew one. 1 

R. Tanhuma, who is reported to have approved the 
answer of Abahu, lived in Palestine in the fourth 
century, and had, himself, an adventure with the 
Minim (see below, p. 282). 

It. Abahu and a Min. Anachronism 
in Scripture 

(98) b. Ber. 10 a . — A certain Min said to R. Abahu, 
' It is written [Ps. iii. 1], Psalm of David, 
when he fled before Absalom his son. And it is 
written [Ps. lvii. 1], Of David; Michtam, 
when he fled before Saul, in the cave. Was the 
incident [of Absalom] first? Yet since the 
incident of Saul was first, it ought to have 
been written first.' He said to him, 'To you, 
who do not interpret "contexts," there is a 
difficulty ; to us, who do interpret " contexts," 
there is no difficulty.' 

1 It is worth notice that the LXX., in Gen. v. 24, render npb (took) by 
/x€T€0tj/c6, 'translated,' and that the latter word is used in Heb. xi. 5. 
Both R Abahu and the Minim understood Greek ; and thus the discussion 
may have turned on the question whether the Hebrew word was correctly 
rendered in the text in the Ep. to the Hebrews. 


Commentary. — Rabbinowicz (D. Soph, ad loc.) 
gives a variant according to which the question of 
the Min is :onp ^ikbh pibwd ik nnp ubtr&n nvvo cnp irw» vt 
This is the reading of the Munich MS. I do not 
adopt it, however, because it appears to be intended 
as a gloss, in explanation of the question of the Min. 
The reading of the Agadath ha-Talmud, also quoted by 
Rabbinowicz, is :*ma fcitn nvyn nA kb»-q mn nt?yD *n, 
which seems to confirm the reading of the printed 
text. The difficulty raised by the Min is obvious ; 
the Psalm which refers to the earlier event comes after 
that which refers to the later one. R. Abahu replied 
that the difficulty was only felt by those who did not 
interpret 'contexts.' He meant that there were 
reasons, apart from succession or priority in time, 
why the Scripture mentions one event in connexion 
with another. The Scriptures were regarded as con- 
taining the whole of revealed truth, and therefore as 
being much more than a mere historical record. Re- 
ligious and moral lessons were taught in it, for the 
sake of which historical consistency was disregarded. 
The principle of deduction from 'contexts,' pioo 
to which R. Abahu referred, was followed in the 
Rabbinical schools long before his time. R. Eliezer, 
in the first century, made use of it, as did also R. 
El'azar ben Azariah, his younger contemporary. 
R. Aqiba appears to have been the first to formulate 
the principle into a canon of interpretation, in the 
form ruo»n msh rvronb hdiod pnv mrm ^d, i.e. ' every section 
is explained by the one that stands next to it' 
(Siphri, on Num. xxv. 1, § 131, p. 47 a ). In the third 
century, R. El'azar ben Pedath gave a Scripture 
proof of the principle, or at least warrant for it, from 



Ps. cxi. 8, They are established (d'oidd) for ever and 
ever, i.e, ' The d^didd are for ever and ever ' ; they 
are eternally true. This dictum of R. El'azar ben 
Pedath is mentioned in the Gemara, immediately 
after the answer of R. Abahu to the Min. The 
printed text wrongly ascribes it to R. Johanan. 
Rabbinowicz shows, on the authority of the Munich 
MS., that the true reading is 'El'azar.' R. Abahu 
did not explain to the Min how he would apply the 
principle in the case of the two texts quoted. The 
illustration given in the Gemara, in connexion with 
the saying of R. El'azar, refers to a different pair of 
texts. That the Minim did not follow this prin- 
ciple in their interpretation of Scripture is evident, 
not merely from R. Abahu's statement, but from the 
fact that, as he pointed out, the difficulty would not 
have been felt by them if they had followed the 

R. Abahu and a Min. The Souls of the 

(99) b. Shabb. 152 b .— A certain Min said to R. 
Abahu, 'Ye say that the souls of the right- 
eous are stored up under the Throne of Glory. 
How did the necromancer call up Samuel by 
witchcraft?' [1 Sam. xxviii. 12]. He said to 
him, 'That happened within twelve months 
[from death]. For it is tradition, that during 
twelve months a man's body remains, and his 
soul goes up and comes down; after twelve 
months the body perishes, and his soul goes 
up and does not come down again.' 


Commentary, — It will be noticed that in the pre- 
ceding passage, as well as in the present one, there 
is no polemical intention in the question of the 
Minim to R. Abahu, but only a desire for instruction. 
This helps to make clearer such a friendly attitude 
of both parties to each other as is implied in the story 
of R. Saphra already discussed (see above, p. 266). 
On the other hand, the passage does not throw any 
light upon the theology of the Min ; the question is 
not in itself heretical, but merely an inquiry by one 
who was a heretic. 

R. Abahu and a Min. God a Jester ; 
God a Priest 

(100) b. Sanh. 39 d .— A certain Min said to R. 
Abahu, ' Your God is a jester, for he said to 
Ezekiel [Ezek. iv. 4], Lie upon thy left side, 
and it is written [ib. 9 6], and thou shalt lie on 
thy right side.' There came a certain disciple 
and said to him [Abahu], ■ What is the mean- 
ing of the Sabbath-year ? ' He said, ' I will 
say to you a word which will answer both of 
you. The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to 
Israel [Exod. xxiii. 10, 11], Sow six years, and 
refrain the seventh, that ye may know that 
the land is mine.' But they did not do so, 
but sinned, and were carried away captive. 
It is the custom of the world that a king of 
flesh and blood, against whom a city is re- 
bellious, if he is cruel will slay all the people, 
if he is merciful he will slay half, and if he is 
full of mercy he chastises the great ones among 


them with chastisement. Thus did the Holy 
One, Blessed be He, chastise Ezekiel, that he 
might wipe away the sins of Israel.' 

A certain Min said to R. Abahu, 'Your 
God is a priest, for it is written [Exod. xxv. 
2], That they take for me a heave-offering. 
When he buried Moses, wherewith did he 
purify [bathe] himself? If you say, 'with 
water,' then see what is written [Isa. xl. 12], 
Who hath measured the waters in the hollow 
of his hand' He said to him, ' With fire did 
he purify himself, as it is written [Isa. lxvi. 
15], For behold the Lord will come with fire' 
[He said], 'Does then purification by fire 
avail ? ' He said, ' The very essence of puri- 
fication is in fire, as it is written [Num. xxxi. 
23], All that abideth not the fire, thou shalt make 
to pass through the water' 
Commentary. — There is little to be said upon these 
two anecdotes. The questions contain nothing 
characteristic of Minuth, and only serve to illustrate 
the relations between It. Abahu and the Minim. 
They occur in the middle of a long passage, contain- 
ing many references to Minuth, and several instances 
of dialogues between Jewish Rabbis and Minim. 
These have been, or will be, dealt with in connexion 
with the several Rabbis mentioned. 

R. Abahu and a Min. The Coming 
of the Messiah 

(101) b. Sanh. 99 a . — And this is what a certai 
Min said to R. Abahu, ' When will the Messial 


come ? ' He said to him, ' When darkness 
hath covered these men [i.e. covered you].' 
He said, ' Thou art cursing me ! ' He said, 
• The text is written [Isa. lx. 2], For behold 
darkness shall cover the earth and gross dark- 
ness the people ; but the Lord shall arise upon 
thee and his glory shall be seen upon thee' 
Commentary. — The reference in the opening words 
is to an anonymous parable of a cock and a bat 
who were waiting for the dawn. The cock said to 
the bat, I am waiting for the light, for the light is 
mine ; but what have you to do with light ? In other 
words, none but Jews have any concern with the 
coming of the Messiah. This, says the Gemara, is 
the point of the answer, made by R. Abahu to a 
certain Min, etc., and then follows the above passage. 
The only interest in it is that it is, so far as I know, 
the only passage where a Min refers to the Messiah. 
If the Minim are, or include Jewish Christians, one 
would naturally expect that the alleged Messiahship 
of Jesus would be a subject of controversy. This, 
however, is not the case ; and the fact might be used 
as an argument in support of the theory that the 
Minim are not Christians. In the present instance 
the Min can hardly have been a Jewish Christian, 
because Abahu by his answer implies that he is a 
Gentile. But the incident is too slight to serve as 
the foundation for any argument. 

R. Abahu and a Min (Sason) 

(102) b. Succ. 48 b . — A certain Min, whose name 
was Sason, said to R. Abahu, Ye will draw 


water for me, in the world to come, for it is 
written [Isa. xii. 3], With joy [sason] shall ye 
draw water, etc. He said to him, ■ If it were 
written for joy, it would be as you say. But 
. it is written, with joy [with sason] ; we shall 
make a waterskin of the skin of this man [i.e. 
of your skin], and draw water from it.' 
Commentary. — This is only a piece of witty repartee 
and needs no comment. The name Sason occurs 
elsewhere ; there was a Rabbi 'Anani bar Sason, 
as Bacher points out, who appears to have been a 
contemporary of R. Abahu. There is nothing to 
imply that Sason was a Min, beyond the mere state- 
ment of the text. 

This concludes the series of dialogues in which R. 
Abahu was concerned. Several are of but small im- 
portance, and are only given here for the sake of 
completeness. It is my endeavour to present to the 
reader every passage in the Talmud in which Minim 
and Minuth are referred to. 

R. Ami and a Min. The Resurrection 
of the Dead 

(103) b. Sanh. 91 a . — A certain Min said to R. 
Ami, • Ye say that the dead live. But, lo, 
they are dust ; and how shall dust live ? ' He 
said to him, ' I will tell thee a parable. Unto 
what is the thing like ? Unto a king of flesh 
and blood who said to his servants, Go, build 
for me a great palace in a place where there 
is neither water nor dust. They went and 
built it. After a time it fell. He said, Build 


it again, in a place where there is dust and 
water. They said to him, We cannot. He 
was angry with them, and said to them, Ye 
have built it in a place where there was neither 
water nor dust; how much more in a place 
where there is water and dust. 

6 But, if thou dost not believe [that dust can 
live], go into the valley and see the mouse, 
which to-day is half flesh and half earth, and 
to-morrow has crept out and is become alto- 
gether flesh. And, lest thou say, This is 
through length of time, go to the hill and see 
that to-day there is but one snail ; to-morrow 
the rains have fallen, and the place is filled 
with snails.' 
Commentary. — R. Ami was a disciple of R. 
Johanan, and thus a contemporary of R. Abahu. The 
Min would seem to have been an unbeliever in resur- 
rection altogether. If so, of course, he cannot have 
been a Jewish Christian. The argument of the 
Minim against the resurrection was usually a denial 
that the doctrine could be proved from the Torah. 
This appears from the passage already quoted (see 
above, p. 232), where Rn. Gamliel tries to refute their 
argument. The Mishnah at the head of this section 
of Sanhedrin is the famous one [M. Sanh. x. 1], already 
several times mentioned, which enumerates those who 
have no portion in the world to come. Amongst 
others, it specifies those who say that there is no 
resurrection from the dead. The common text adds 
the words, nroim p, f according to the Torah ' ; but 
Rabbinowicz, on the passage, shows that these words 
are an interpolation. This is confirmed by the 


Tosephta (T. Sanh. xiii. 5), which condemns "those 
who lie concerning the resurrection of the dead," but 
does not allude to a denial of scripture proof for the 
doctrine. The words interpolated are probably from 
the Gemara, a few lines further down (p. 90 b ), where 
the question is raised 'what is the proof of the 
resurrection according to the Torah ? ' The scripture 
proof of the doctrine is merely a special branch of 
the general subject. Accordingly, the Gemara, here 
and elsewhere, deals with the subject, sometimes in 
reference to the general, sometimes to the special 
question. The Minim ask Rn. Gamliel for a proof 
of the resurrection of the dead, and he gives them 
texts from Scripture (see above, p. 231, No. 85). A 
few lines further down, on the same page of Sanhedrin, 
the ' Romans ' ask R Jehoshua b. Hananjah the 
same question, and he also answers them by quoting 
texts. Then follows a passage in which, according to 
the received text, it is alleged that the ' Books of the 
Minim ' contain denials of the scripture proof of the 
doctrine of resurrection. But the correct reading is 
not Minim, but Cuthim (Samaritans), as is shown by 
the parallel passages, Siphri, p. 33 b , cp. 87% also by the 
MS. authority cited by Rabbinowicz. On the last 
line of p. 90 b of Sanhedrin is a passage in which an 
Emperor (io>p) 9 puts to Rn. Gamliel the very same 
question which the Min puts to R. Ami in the 
passage at present under consideration. The answer 
is different in the two cases, but in both it is addressed 
to an opponent who denies the doctrine of resurrection 
in general, not merely the scripture proof of it. The 
denial is natural enough coming from a heathen 
emperor (presumably Hadrian). But I do not know 


what class of heretic — Min — denied that doctrine. 
In the time when R. Ami lived, the end of the third 
and beginning of the fourth century, there were no 
Sadducees. The denial of the resurrection of the 
dead was not a Gnostic tenet. 1 I am inclined to 
think that the opponent of R. Ami was really a 
heathen, incorrectly or inadvertently called a Min in 
the Gemara. 

The passage is evidently introduced merely for 
the sake of R. Ami's answer. His parable of the 
building of the palace is easily explained. If God 
could form man out of nothing, much more could he 
form again a living being out of dust. The Rabbi's 
curious illustrations from the natural history of the 
mouse and the snail rest upon what in his time were 
accepted facts. 

Gebiha B. Pesisa and a Min. The 
Resurrection of the Dead 

(104) b. Sanh. 91 a . — A certain Min said to Gebiha 
ben Pesisa, ' Woe to you guilty who say that 
the dead live. If the living die, how shall the 
dead live ? ' He said, ' Woe to you guilty who 
say that the dead do not live. If those who 
were not, live, those who have been, live all 
the more.' He said to him, ' Thou callest me 
guilty. Suppose I prove it by kicking thee 
and tearing thy scalp from thee.' He said, 
'If thou doest thus, thou shalt be called a 
faithful physician, and shalt receive a great 

1 The resurrection of the body, however, was denied by the Gnostics. 


Commentary. — This passage follows immediately 
after the one about R. Ami, just translated. I have 
included it here, because it deals with the same sub- 
ject, not because it belongs chronologically to this 
place. Gebiha ben Pesisa is a legendary character, 
traditionally contemporary with Alexander the Great. 
Two anecdotes are given on the same page of 
Sanhedrin, describing how Geb. b. Pesisa acted as 
advocate for the Jews before Alexander the Great. 
I can throw no light upon him. The repartee about 
the resurrection of the dead was connected with his 
name, and for that reason presumably he is mentioned 
by the compiler of the Gemara immediately after 
R. Ami. 

The meaning of his further answer to the threat of 
violence is, that if the Min killed him, he would 
confer immortality and thus prove himself a great 
physician by giving life by means of death. A rather 
dangerous doctrine for physicians. 

R. Tanhuma, Caesar and a Min. All one 

(105) b. Sanh. 39 a . — Csesar said to R. Tanhuma, 
1 Come, let us all be one people.' He said, 
' So be it. But we, who circumcise ourselves, 
cannot become like you. Do ye circumcise 
yourselves and become like us.' He said to 
him, 'Thou hast spoken well. Nevertheless, 
everyone who prevails over a king, they cast 
him into the vivarium' They cast him into 
the vivarium, but [the beast] did not eat him. 
A certain Min said to him (Caesar), ' The 


reason why [the beast] did not eat him is that 
it was not hungry.' They cast him [the Min] 
[into the vivarium] and [the beast] ate him. 
Commentary. — R. Tanhuma lived in Palestine, in 
the generation after R. Abahu, thus about the middle 
of the fourth century. Bacher (A. d. Pal. Am., hi. 
467) admits that this anecdote rests upon a historical 
event, and supposes that the emperor referred to 
must have been a Christian. The emperors con- 
temporary with R. Tanhuma were, with one notable 
exception, Christians. That exception was Julian the 
Apostate (a.d. 361-363), and I suggest that the 
Emperor in the story is intended for Julian, rather 
than for one of the Christian emperors. It is true 
that Julian is nowhere mentioned by name in the 
Talmud (unless the reading mho DU&&, j. Ned. 37 d , be 
preferred to the reading » P tt t yfrp n in the parallel 
passage, j. Shebhu. 34 d ). There is, however, no a 
priori reason why he should be entirely ignored, at all 
events in the Babylonian Gemara. It is known that 
Julian was disposed to be friendly towards the Jews, 
even to the extent of offering to rebuild the Temple 
in Jerusalem. His friendship was, no doubt, influ- 
enced in part by his dislike of the Christians, in part, 
perhaps, also by his desire to have the Jews on his side 
in his contemplated war with Persia. No Christian 
emperor would be described as suggesting to a Jew, 
in a friendly conference, that he and his countrymen 
should forsake their religion and become one people 
with their sovereign. There is extant a letter to the 
Jews in which Julian speaks of his desire to see their 
holy city rebuilt, and to join with them in offering 
praise there to the All-Good (/cat «/ avrfi Sd£w S(oao> 


jxeff vfxcjp to* KpeLTTovi, cited by Gratz, iv. n. 34). 
This hope was never realised, and the projected re- 
building of the Temple was abandoned. The Jews 
do not appear to have been greatly in favour of the 
project, perhaps because it was due to a pagan 
emperor in the interests of pagan rather than of 
Jewish religion. 

The story before us seems to reflect such a relation 
between the emperor and the Jews. Julian actually 
was in Antioch in the year 362 ; and R. Tanhuma, 
though not the Nasi, was one of the few eminent 
representatives of his people in Palestine. He was 
therefore a likely personage for the emperor to con- 
verse with if he held any intercourse with Jews, as he 
certainly did. I do not mean to suggest that the 
story refers to anything so definite as the project 
of rebuilding the Temple, only that it describes an 
incident made possible by such an intention on the 
part of Julian. If this be so, then the reply of the 
Rabbi would reflect the view which the Jews took of 
the overtures of a heathen emperor, viz., that they 
would not purchase his friendship at the cost of their 
religion, even for the sake of seeing their Temple 
rebuilt. The emperor would naturally be mortified 
at such a rebuff; but it is in keeping with the 
character of Julian, the philosopher, that he should 
have admitted the force of the Rabbi's argument, 
while punishing him for his rashness in opposing the 
imperial will. The story goes on to say that the 
Rabbi was cast into the vivarium, 1 to be devoured by a 

1 Vivarium ; this is evidently the equivalent of "Q'Q, although vivarium 
in classical Latin does not mean a den of wild beasts, such as is clearly 
implied in the story. 


wild beast, and that for some reason the beast would 
not touch him. Amongst the bystanders was a 
Min, who explained the reason of the Rabbi's safety 
by the suggestion that the beast was not hungry. 
Whereupon he was sent to prove the worth of his 
own suggestion by being himself cast into the den, 
where he was immediately devoured. If the Min 
were a Christian, it is conceivable that Julian should 
have so dealt with him ; or, if not that, it is not 
unnatural that the author of the story should have so 
expressed his own dislike of the Christians under 
cover of the known antipathy towards them of Julian. 
This anecdote does not, of course, throw much 
light, if any, upon the general subject of the Minim ; 
but, if the suggestion made above be warranted, it is 
at least interesting as affording a glimpse into a period 
of Jewish history concerning which the Rabbinical 
literature is almost silent. 

R. Idi and a Min : MetatrOn 

(106) b. Sanh. 38 b .— R. Nahman said, 'He who 
knows how to answer the Minim like R. Idi, 
let him answer; if not, let him not answer.' 
A certain Min said to R. Idi, ' It is written 
[Exod. xxiv. 1], And he said unto Moses, 
Come up unto the Lord. He ought to have 
said, Come up unto me.' He [R. Idi] said, 
1 This is Metatron, whose name is as the name 
of his Master. For it is written [Exod. xxiii. 
21], For my name is in him.' ' If so, worship 
him.' ■ It is written \ibid.\ Provoke him not 
[i.e. Do not mistake him for me].' ■ If so, 


what have I to do with [ibid.'] he will not 
pardon thy transgressions ? ' He [R. Idi] said 
to him, ■ Be sure of this, that even as a guide 
we would not receive him ; for it is written 
[Exod. xxxiii. 15], If thy presence go not [with 
us, carry us not up hencey 
Commentary. — Rab Idi 1 is classed by Bacher 
(A. d. P. A., iii. 704) amongst the Palestinian 
Amoras of the fourth century, though without any 
indication of the place where he lived. R. Nahman, 
who refers to him, is R. Nahman bar Jitzhaq, a Baby- 
lonian, president of the College at Pumbeditha, who 
died a.d. 356. R. Idi appears to have travelled in 
Babylonia, and may there have met with R. Nahman. 
His dispute with the Min probably took place in 
Palestine, as it is said, b. Hull. 13 a , that there are no 
Minim amongst the Gentiles, and b. Pesah., 56 h 9 
that there are no Minim in Nehardea. 

The dialogue between R. Idi and the Min belongs, 
in any case, to the fourth century. Friedlander, in his 
work der Vorchristliche judiscJie Grnosticismus, p. 103 
fol., makes some use of the passage before us, and begins 
by transferring it to the Tannaite period, thus ante- 
dating it by nearly two hundred years ! In accordance 
with his theory, he regards the Min as a Gnostic, on 
the strength of the identification which he proposes 
between ' Metatron ' and the Gnostic ' Horos ' ("Opos, 
Metator). But he overlooks the fact that it is the 
Jew, and not the Min, who mentions Metatron. 
And the Rabbi's argument surely is that the Min is 

1 'Idi' is the correct reading. The form 'Idith,' as in the text, occurs 
only here, and the evidence of the authorities quoted by Rabbinowicz shows 
that even here the name should be read ' Idi.' 


wrong in hinting at a second God, because the 
reference is to Metatron, and not to a second God. 
If the Min was a Gnostic, and if Metatron were 
identical with Horos, then the Rabbi would merely 
have been playing into the hands of the Min. 

The point in dispute is the doctrine of the Two 
Powers in Heaven, which we have already met with 
in other polemical discussions (see above, p. 262 fol.). 
The Min quoted a text, which appeared to imply the 
existence of more than one divine being, And he 
said unto Moses, come up unto tJie Lord. If it were 
God himself speaking, then He ought to have said, 
Coine up unto me. Who was it to whom Moses 
was told to go up ? The Jew was ready with his 
answer. The reference was to Metatron, a recognised 
personage in the Rabbinical theology, where he 
always appears as the chief of the angels, nearest to 
God but subject to God, acting as his messenger 
and representative, but never regarded as being in 
any sense himself God. Metatron is so far from 
being identical with the Logos of the Jewish Alex- 
andrine philosophy, or with the Horos of Gnosticism, 
that he may be regarded as the expression of the 
Rabbinical rejection of those conceptions. In other 
words, the doctrine of Metatron is the reply of the 
Rabbinical theology to the doctrine of the Logos 
and to the Gnostic systems. No doubt there is 
common to all three conceptions the idea of a delega- 
tion of divine power ; but, in the case of Metatron, 
the line is sharply drawn between sen ant and 
Master, creature and Creator. This is shown, in 
a curious way, in a passage (107) [b. Hag. 15 a ], 
which describes how Elisha ben Abujah entered 


Paradise, and there " saw Metatron, to whom was 
given power to sit and write down the merits of 
Israel. He [Elisha b. A.] said, ' It is taught that on 
high there is no sitting, no strife, no parting and no 
joining. Can there be, heaven forbid, two powers ? ' 
They brought out Metatron and gave him sixty lashes 
of fire" This was done, as Tosaphoth rightly 
explains, to show that Metatron was not superior in 
kind to the other angels, however much he might 
be in degree. Friedlander, in the work already 
referred to (Vorchr. jud. Gnosticismus, 102), quotes, 
or rather paraphrases, this passage ; " Bei seinem 
Eindringen in das Paradies sah Acher [El. b. Abujah], 
wie berichtet wird, zu seinem schrecken eine zweite 
Gottheit im Himmel, den Metatron." Friedlander, 
however, does not mention the concluding words, 
translated above, which expressly contradict the 
assertion that Metatron was a second God. Elisha 
ben Abujah may have believed that Metatron was 
such ; but the Talmud stamps that belief as a heresy. 
And it is quite clear that the Rabbinical theology 
recognised Metatron, while it certainly did not admit 
the Gnostic conception with which Friedlander 
would identify Metatron. 

I now return to the dialogue between R. Idi 
and the Min. The former has explained that the 
reference|in the text quoted by the latter, Come up 
unto the Lord, is to Metatron, for his name is as the 
name of his^Master, as it is written [Exod. xxiii. 21], 
For my name is in Him. The Min rejoins, ' Then 
why do you not worship him?' If, that is, the 
name and by implication the power of God is com- 
mitted^ Metatron, why should he not be worshipped \ 


A question very much to the point, if the Min, as sug- 
gested above (p. 265 fol.), be a Jewish Christian whose 
theology was that of the Epistle to the Hebrews. 
The Jew meets the argument by a rather strained 
interpretation of the text : Provoke him not. The 
word translated ' provoke ' he derives from another 
root, meaning • to change ' ; and he translates, * Do 
not mistake him for me.' His object is to emphasise, 
as much as possible, the intrinsic difference between 
God and the inferior being (Metatron), which was 
already clearly marked in the original text. The 
Min replies that if there be such a marked difference 
between the two, why is it said he will not pardon 
your sins ? Does not this imply that he, of whom 
this is said, has power to pardon or withhold pardon ? 
And if so, can he be only a subordinate, to whom 
worship must not be offered ? The answer of the 
Rabbi is rather obscure, ' Be assured of this, that 
even as a guide we would not receive him, for it is 
written, If thy presence go not with us, carry us not 
up hence.' The connexion of this with the argument 
of the Min is suggested by the remark of Rashi, in 
his commentary on the verse in Exodus, that it was 
not the function of the angel to pardon sins ; he was 
to be a guide, and nothing more. He will not 
pardon your sins, because that is out of his depart- 
ment. The Rabbi seems to have interpreted the words 
in a similar way. Metatron was sent as a guide, 
with no power to pardon sins. 'But even as a 
guide,' he goes on, ' we would not receive him.' 
The promised guide, to whom the words in Exod. 
xxiii. refer, was never sent. For it appears from 
Exod. xxxiii. 12-17 that Moses prayed that God 



himself would lead his people, and that his prayer 
was granted. Thus, from the Jewish point of view, 
the argument of the Min was completely met. So 
far from there being, as suggested, a second God, 
there was only an angel, supreme amongst angels 
perhaps, but by more than a little ' lower than God.' 

Friedlander makes the needless remark (op. cit. 9 
p. 104) that the Rabbi, driven into a corner, only 
extricated himself by a violent exegesis that made 
nonsense of the text. The real matter in dispute 
was not a point of exegesis, but a fundamental 
theological doctrine. And even if exegesis had been 
in question, the Rabbi was only following the usage 
of the schools in applying exegetical methods which 
were haggadic and not scientific. This will already 
have appeared, from the numerous examples we have 
seen of Rabbinical interpretation of Scripture. 

R. Abina and a Min 

(108) b. Sanh. 39 a .— A certain Min said to R. Abina, 

6 It is written [2 Sam. vii. 23], Who is like thy 

people, like Israel, one nation in the earth ? 

What is their excellence ? Ye also are 

mingled with them, for it is written [Isa. xl. 

17], All the nations are as nothing before 

him' He said to him, ' Your own [prophets] 

bear witness concerning us, for it is written 

[Num. xxiii. 9], It sliall not be reckoned among 

the nations' 

Commentary. — Abina is the name of two Rabbis, 

both Palestinian, and both living in the fourth 

century, though not in the same generation. Bacher 


holds that the Abina of this passage is the elder of 
the two. 1 The passage is of little importance. The 
Min sought to show that Israel had no claim to pre- 
eminence over the other nations, on the ground that 
all the nations were as nothing before God. The Rabbi 
retorted by quoting the words of a heathen prophet, 
viz., Balaam, to the effect that Israel was not to be 
reckoned amongst the nations. The Min evidently 
was a Gentile, and therefore probably a Christian, 
since no other Gentile would be able to quote from 
the O.T. scriptures. It is possible that the reference 
to Balaam has something of the anti- Christian animus 
noted above (p. 66 fol.). But if this were the inten- 
tion, we should expect the reference to be made more 

This concludes the series of passages in which 
Jewish Rabbis meet Minim in controversy. I shall 
next present a further series of passages containing 
polemical allusions to the Minim. To some extent I 
have classified them, according to their subject matter; 
but I shall have to include several in a miscellaneous 
group, having little or nothing in common except the 
allusion to Minim. I give, first, a group of texts 
referring to the doctrine of the Unity of God and the 
opposed doctrines of Two Powers in Heaven. 


Man Created Solitary 

(109) M. Sanh. iv. 5. — For this reason man was 
created solitary [for various reasons], and in 

1 A. d. P. Amor., iii. 539. 


order that Minim might not say there are 

several Powers in Heaven. 
(110) T. Sanh. viii. 7. — Man was created last. 

And why was he created last? That the 

Minim might not say there was a companion 

with Him in the work. 
Commentary, — I have omitted from ( 109 ) a few lines, 
in which are suggested several rather fantastic reasons 
why man was created solitary. My object, of course, 
is not to expound Haggadah, but to examine references 
to Minim. It should be noticed that in (109) the 
Minim are charged with believing in several Powers 
in Heaven; in (110) they are charged with asserting 
the existence of a being who aided God in the work 
of creation. The commentators on (109) explain the 
passage thus, that, if several men had been created at 
once, the Minim might say one deity had created one 
man, another another, and so on. It is not evident 
what doctrine is aimed at in (109). At first sight it 
would seem to be that of mere Gentile polytheism ; 
but the ordinary Gentiles are never, so far as I know, 
called Minim. The Gnostics did, it is true, believe 
in 'several Powers' in Heaven, but not several 
creators, and the argument of the Mishnah has no 
point, unless the doctrine combatted be that of 
several creators. It is possible that the word 
translated 'several' may only imply 'more than one,' 
in which case the passage would be in harmony with 
most of the others where the doctrine of the Minim 
touching the creation is alluded to. 

In the second passage (110) it is clear that only 
two Powers are alleged. Man is said to have been 
created last in order that the Minim might not say 


that He, i.e. God, had a companion in the work of 
creation. That ' He ' refers to God and not to man 
is evident from the sense of the passage, and is more- 
over explicitly stated in the Gemara [b. Sanh. p. 38 a ]. 
If it were in the power of the Minim to show that a 
being, other than the Supreme God, had shared in 
the work of creation, then that would have been a 
strong argument in their favour, supposing them to 
have been, as suggested above (p. 265 fol.), Jewish 
Christians of the type represented by the theology of 
the Epistle to the Hebrews. 

The two passages (109) and (110) are reproduced 
in the Babylonian Gemara (b. Sanh. 38 a ), but not in 
that of Palestine. There is no discussion of either 
passage in the Gemara. There is, however, in the 
same context a further reference to the denial of the 
Unity of God by the Minim. Indeed, this part of 
b. Sanhedrin is full of allusions to heresy, several of 
which have already been examined. 

The Unity of God. Texts appealed 
to by the Minim 

(111) b. Sanh. 38 b .— We teach there R. Eliezer 
says, ' Be careful to learn Torah, and know 
what thou shalt answer to an Epiquros.' R. 
Johanan said, 'They only taught this concerning 
a Gentile Epiquros, but [it applies] all the more 
to a Jewish Epiquros, for he is more defiant.' 

R. Johanan said, ' In every place [i.e. text 
of Scripture] which the Minim misinterpret, 
the context refutes them. [Gen i. 26], Let us 
make man in our image; [ib. 27], And God 


created [sing.] man in his image. [Gen. xi. 7], 
Go to, now, let us go down and there confound 
their language [ib. 5]; And the Lord went 
down [sing.] to see the city and the tower. 
[Gen. xxxv. 7], For there God was [plur.] 
revealed to him ; [ib. 3], unto God who answered 
[sing.] me in the day of my trouble. [Deut. iv. 
7], For what great nation is there that hath a 
God so nigh [plur.] unto them as the Lord our 
God is whensoever we call upon him [sing.]. 
[2 Sam. vii. 23], And what one nation in the 
earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom 
God went [plur.] to redeem unto himself [sing.] 
for a people. [Dan. vii. 9], Until thrones 
were set, and one that was ancient of days did 
sit. What do these words mean, according to 
[the theory] of R. Johanan ? For R. Johanan 
said, 'The Holy One, Blessed be He, doeth 
nothing except he have taken counsel with the 
family above, as it is said [Dan. iv. 17], The 
sentence is by decide of the watchers and the 
demand by the word of the holy ones. All 
this may be admitted ; but what is to be said 
of until thrones were set ? One for Him and 
one for David; for it is tradition, 'One for 
Him and one for David ; the words of R. 
Aqiba.' R. Jose said to him, 'Aqiba, how 
long wilt thou make the Shechinah profane? 
It is One for justice and one for righteousness.' 
He [Aqiba] received it [i.e. the correction] from 
him, or he did not receive it. Come and see. 
For it is tradition, ' One for justice and one 
for righteousness; the words of R. Aqiba/ 


R. El'azar ben Azariah said to him, 'Aqiba, 
what hast thou to do with Haggadah ? Be 
off to 'wounds' and 'tents/ It is 'One for 
his throne and one for his footstool. A throne 
to sit on and a footstool for the support of 
his feet.' 
Commentary, — The first part of this passage, re- 
ferring to the Epiquros, has been dealt with already 
(see above, p. 120 fol., where the meaning of the term 
Epiquros is examined). The advice of R. Johanan 
concerning the Jewish Epiquros is usually understood 
to mean that such an opponent was to be shunned 
as dangerous. This is not what R. Johanan said. 
He adopted the words of R. El'azar b. Arach, ' Know 
what to answer to an Epiquros,' and said, ' This was 
spoken in reference to the Gentile Epiquros ; but 
it applies all the more to the Jewish one.' In other 
words, the Jew was to be especially careful how he 
replied to a Jewish Epiquros, because he was more 
dangerous. But that is not the same as saying that 
the Jew was not to meet the Jewish Epiquros in 
argument. And, since a Jewish Epiquros was 
practically a Min, we have already met with many 
examples of such polemical encounters. 

The connexion between Epiquros (freethinker) and 
Min (heretic) is indicated in the present passage by 
the word *p e qar' (npo), which means in general 'to 
be free from restraint, thence to act as a freethinker,' 
and (in relation to Scripture) 'to interpret heretically.' 
The name Epiquros, borrowed, of course, from the 
Greek, was adopted for the sake of the play upon 
the word i p e qar.' R. Johanan said that the Jewish 
Epiquros 'p'qar* more than the Gentile one; also 


that the Minim ' p e qaru' in their interpretation of 

The examples given of texts relied on by the Minim 
and refuted by the context have, with the exception 
of the last, been already dealt with. The last is Dan. 
vii. 9, Until thrones were set, and one that was ancient 
of days did sit. The Gemara asks what is the ex- 
planation of this, according to the theory of R. 
Johanan (i.e. that the context refutes the heretical 
misuse of the text). The refutation is found, hardly 
in the context, but so far away as Dan. iv. 17. R. 
Johanan, accordingly, understood that the ' thrones,' 
which the heretics said were intended for, and im- 
plied the existence of, more than one God, were for 
the use of the ' family above,' the angels with whom 
God was said to take counsel. It is not surprising 
that this text caused some perplexity to the Rabbinical 
interpreters of Scripture. In addition to the explana- 
tion of R. Johanan, the Gemara gives three earlier 
interpretations. R. Aqiba said that the thrones were 
for God and David; whereupon R. Jose [ha-Galili] 
rebuked him for 'making the Shechinah profane,' 
in other words, associating a man with God in equality 
of dignity. Possibly David stands for ' the Son of 
David,' i.e. the Messiah ; and Aqiba may have been 
thinking of Ps. ex. i., T/ie Lord said unto my lord, 
sit thou at my right hand. R. Jose* felt the danger of 
such an explanation, in admitting the possibility of 
other divine beings associated with God. His own 
explanation, a very forced one, was that both thrones 
(assuming them to have been only two)were for the 
use of God. He sat on one to dispense justice, on 
the other to do righteousness, or rather to show mercy. 


R. Aqiba, according to one tradition, adopted this 
explanation. Another contemporary, R. El'azar ben 
Azariah, rebuked him as R. Jose' had done (probably 
on the same occasion), and in his turn suggested the 
explanation that one throne was for God to sit on, 
the other to serve as a footstool. This, again, was a 
forced interpretation, evidently intended ,to guard 
against the danger involved in that of R. Aqiba. It 
is remarkable that R. Aqiba, who was sufficiently 
alive to all danger of heresy, should not have detected 
the fault in his own interpretation of the text. The 
rebuke that he knew nothing of Haggadah, but only 
of Halachah, was unduly severe ; though it is no 
doubt true that he was greater in the latter depart- 
ment than in the former. The reference to ' wounds ' 
and ' tents ' denotes the halachahs concerning injuries 
and ceremonial uncleanness. R. Aqiba, as a master 
of Halachah, was virtually one of the founders of 
the Mishnah. His work, in beginning the codification 
of the halachahs, was made use of by R. Jehudah ha- 
Qadosh, to whom the completion of the Mishnah is due. 

77. The Unity of God. An Offering 
to JHVH 

(112) Siphri, § 143 p. 54 a . — Shim'on ben Azai says, 
Come and see : In all the offerings [mentioned] 
in the Torah, it is not said, in connexion 
with them, either ' God ' or ' thy God ' or 
1 Almighty ' or ' of Hosts,' but ■ JH,' a singular 
[not plural] name. So as not to give to the 
Minim an occasion to humble us. 

(113) b. Menah. 110*.— Tradition : R. Shim'on 


ben Azai said, Come and see what is written 
in the chapter on offerings, viz., that it is not 
said, in connexion with them, either God [El] or 
'God' [Elohim], but JHVH, so as not to give 
to the adversary an occasion to distinguish. 
(114) Siphra. 4 C . — The same, in substance, as (112), 
but ascribed to R. Jose [ben Halaphta], instead 
of to Shimon ben Azai. 

The saying is also found in Jalqut Shim'oni, 
§ 604. 
Commentary. — Shim'on ben Azai was a younger 
contemporary of R. Aqiba, in the early years of the 
second century. The point of his remark, in the 
above passages, is that all offerings prescribed in the 
Torah are mentioned in connexion with the individual 
name of God, i.e. JHVH, and not with the generic 
names for God, which are mostly plural in form. 
The older texts, Siphri and Siphra, have * Minim,' as 
the opponent against whom Ben Azai directed his 
remark. The Gemara in b. Menahoth reads merely 
' the adversary,' and it is remarkable that Rabbinowicz 
gives no variant in support of the reading ' Minim.' 
There can, however, be no doubt that 'Minim' is 
the original reading, whatever may be the explana- 
tion of the alteration in the Gemara. Bacher (A. d. 
Tann., i. 422) says that the Minim here are the 
Gnostics. This may be so, but I venture to sub- 
mit that Bacher does not quite accurately represent 
the argument of Ben Azai. Bacher regards the 
names ■ God,' ■ Almighty,' ' Hosts,' as being intended 
to refer to the divine power, whereas the name 
JHVH refers to the divine goodness. The Gnostics 
held that the laws concerning offerings were given 


by the Demiurgos, who was powerful but not good. 
But if this had been the argument of Ben Azai, the 
Gnostics would have met it by denying that the 
name JHVH implied the divine goodness. The 
point is, that the name JHVH is an individual 
name, which could not possibly be applied to more 
than one divine being ; whereas the other names 
might be, and were, so interpreted. Siphri ex- 
pressly says, that the name JHVH is an individual 
name. And that the Gemara evidently took the 
same view, is shown in the concluding words of 
(113), "so as not to give the adversary an occasion 
to distinguish" i.e. to distinguish between a plurality 
of divine persons. The argument is directed merely 
against the doctrine of Two Powers, already familiar 
from previous discussions. The term Minim, as used 
here, might certainly include the Gnostics ; but there 
is nothing to prove that the Minim, in this passage, 
are in any way different from the Minim who have 
been already considered. 

In Echa. r. on i. 1, p. 10 a , is a Haggadic inter- 
pretation by Ben Azai, founded on the word Echa 
(.-d>k) (115) : " Israel did not go into exile until they 
had denied the one only [God], the practice of 
circumcision, the ten commandments and the five 
books of Torah." The Minim are not mentioned 
here, but are probably intended. With the form 
of the expression, cp. the saying of R. Johanan 
quoted above, p. 181 fol. 

The Unity of God. Two Powers 

(116) Siphri, § 329, p. 189 b .— [Deut. xxxii. 39], 
See now, that I, even I, am He. This is the 


answer to them that say there is no power in 
heaven. He that says there are two powers in 
heaven, they answer him, and say unto him 
[Deut., ibid,], And there is no God with vie. 
And, lest [one should say], He cannot make 
alive or kill, or do evil or do good, learn to 
say [Deut., ibid,], I kill and I make alive. 
And Scripture says [Isaiah xliv. 6], Thus saith 
the Lord, the King of Israel and his redeemer, 
the Lord of Hosts, ' I am the first and I am 
the last, and beside me there is no God" 
(117) Mechilta, p. 66 b .— Scripture says [Dan. vii. 9], 
J beheld, until thrones were set, and it says 
[ib. 10], A fiery stream issued and came forth 

from before him. So as not to give to the 
peoples of the world an opportunity to say, 
' These are two powers.' But / am the Lord 
your God. I am [God] on the sea and on 
the dry land, in the past and in the future, 
in this world and in the world to come. As 
it is said [Deut. xxxii. 39], See, now, that I, 
even I, am He; [Isa. xlvi. 4], Even to old 
age I am He; [ib. xliv. 6], Thus saith the 
Lord, the King of Israel and his redeemer, 
the Lord of Hosts, ' / am the first and I am 
the last.' And it says [ib. xli. 4], Who hath 
wrought and done it, calling the generations 

from the beginning? I, the Lord, the first, 
etc. R. Nathan says, Hence is an answer to 
the Minim who say, 'There are two powers.' 
For when the Holy One, Blessed be He, stood 
up and said, < I am the Lord thy God,' who 
stood up and protested ? 


Commentary, — For the general question of the 
doctrine of Two Powers in Heaven, see above, 
p. 262. These two passages belong to the stratum 
of tradition contemporary with the Mishnah. The 
Minim are not mentioned in (116), but are clearly in- 
tended, as is shown by (117). In (117) 'the peoples 
of the world* may be an error for 'the Minim,' 
caused by the fact that in the same context there 
are several polemical allusions to 'the peoples 
of the world/ where the ordinary Gentiles are 

R. Nathan was a Babylonian, settled in Palestine, 
contemporary with R. Jehudah ha-Qadosh. 

In Mechilta, Beshallach, § 4 p. 37 b , there is another 
allusion to the doctrine of two powers, based on the 
text [Dan. vii. 9] about the thrones. The doctrine 
is ascribed to the ' peoples of the world,' not to ' the 

The Unity of God. "He who will Err, 
let him Err " 

(118) Ber. r. viii. p. 22 d .— R Shemuel bar Nahman, 
in the name of R. Jonathan, said, When 
Moses was writing the Torah, he wrote the 
deeds of each day [of creation]. When he 
came to this verse, as it is written [Gen. i. 26], 
And God said, let us make man in our image, 
according to our likeness, he said, ' Lord of the 
world, how thou art giving a chance to the 
Minim ! I am astonished ! ' He said to him, 
' Write ; and he who will err, let him err ! ' 
Commentary. — R. Jonathan has already been 
mentioned several times in connexion with Minim ; 


(see above, p. 216) R. Shemuel bar Nahman was 
one of his disciples. 

The grim humour of the reply to Moses is some- 
what spoiled by a feeble explanation added on to it. 
The explanation is the same as that given by R. 
Johanan (see above, p. 296), that God took counsel 
with 'the family above,' i.e. the angels. In the 
present passage, the explanation is contained in a 
second speech, beginning, " And the Holy One, 
Blessed be He, said to Moses," etc. I have ven- 
tured to regard this merely as a gloss, and to leave 
R. Jonathan's daring invention untouched. It is by 
far the best retort which the Rabbis made to the 
Minim on this text. 

The Unity of God. God has no Son 

(119) j. Shabb. 8 d .— [Dan. iii. 25], Like a son of 
God. Reuben said, In that hour, an angel 
descended and struck that wicked one [i.e. 
Nebuchadnezzar] upon his mouth, and said to 
him, Amend thy words : Hath He [i.e. God] 
a son? He turned and said [v. 28], Blessed 
be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed- 
nego, who — it is not written, hath sent his son, 
but — hath sent his angel, and hath delivered his 
servants who trusted in him. 
Commentary. — This is part of a haggadic inter- 
pretation of the story, in Dan. iii., of the three 
men cast into the furnace. The fact that, in v. 25, 
Nebuchadnezzar uses the phrase ' son of God J while 
in v. 28 he speaks of a • messenger,' not of a * son,' of 
God, is ingeniously turned to account as an argument 


against the Christian doctrine. There can be no 
question that the polemic here is anti- Christian. Of 
Reuben, the author of this haggadah, nothing is cer- 
tainly known. Probably he is the same as Reuben 
ben Aristobulos, who belonged to the generation after 
the war of Bar Cocheba, and of whom one or two 
sayings are recorded. 

The Minim are not alluded to in this passage. 

With this reference to Christian doctrine may be 
connected another, equally unmistakable, upon the 
same subject. 

The Unity of God. God has no Son 

(120) Shem. r. xxix. 5, p. 51 b . — Another explanation 

[Exod. xx. 2], / am tJw Lord thy God. R. 

Abahu said, A parable of a king of flesh and 

blood ; he reigns, and he has a father or a 

brother. The holy one, blessed be He, saith, 

I am not so [Isa. xliv. 6], / am the first, I 

have no father ; and I am the last, I have no 

son, and beside me there is no God, 1 have no 


Commentary. — For other anti-Christian sayings of 

R. Abahu, see above, p. 266 fol. The Minim are not 

mentioned. There can be no question that the 

Christian doctrine is here attacked ; and it is worth 

noticing that the text made use of by R. Abahu [Isa. 

xliv. 6] is one which we have met with already as 

an argument against the Minim (see above, p. 300). 

This goes to strengthen the contention that the 

Minim are — or include — Jewish Christians. But 

hitherto, as will have been observed, in the passages 


where the doctrine of the two powers is ascribed to 
the Minim, there has been no decisive proof that 
Christians were referred to. The following passage 
appears to supply that proof. 

The Unity of God. The Son of 
the Harlot 

(121) Pesiq. r. xxi. p. 100 b . — R. Hija bar Abba 

said, If the son of the harlot shall say to 

thee, ' These are two Gods,' say unto him, ' I 

am He of the Sea ; I am He of Sinai,' .... 

[another explanation], R. Hija bar Abba 

said, If the son of the harlot shall say to 

thee, 'These are two Gods,' say unto him 

[Deut. v. 4], Face to face the Lord spake 

[sing, not plural] with you. 

Commentary. — This is part of a haggadah on the 

Ten Commandments, and more particularly on the 

words, ' I am the Lord thy God.' In the course of 

the discussion many texts are introduced which we 

have already met with in connexion with the doctrine 

of Two Powers. R. Hija's remark was occasioned 

by the quotation of [Dan. vii. 9], Until thrones were 

set, a text which gave a good deal of trouble to 

the Rabbinical interpreters (see above, p. 296 fol.). 

Those who deduced from this text the doctrine of 

Two Powers were the Minim. In the present 

passage the doctrine of two Gods 1 is ascribed to the 

1 son of the Harlot.' This phrase can refer to none 

1 The terms ( Two Powers ' and ' Two Gods ' are interchangeable, though 
the former is the more usual. The Minim, who are credited with holding 
the doctrine of ' Two Powers,' asked R. Simlai, c How many Gods created 
the world V (see above, p. 255). 


other than Jesus, the story of whose birth was thus 
coarsely represented in the Rabbinical tradition (see 
above, p. 41 fol.). Hence the inference that the 
Minim included Christians, though it does not follow 
that all Minim were Christians. Friedmann, in the 
edition of Pesiqta, from which I quote the above 
passage, has a suggestive note (p. 101 a ), " Son of the 
harlot: this is to be interpreted 'son of Minuth.' 
'Min' is rendered in the targum 'zan,' see Aruch. 
s.v. jt. And perhaps the reference here is to what is 
suggested in Midrash Tillim on Psalm xxii. 1, 'My 
God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ' ; i.e. the 
God of the Red Sea, and the God of Sinai. The 
Midrash, perhaps, had in view him who prayed, ' My 
God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me. ' " ' Minuth, ' 
according to this view, is closely akin to 'zanuth' 
(fornication), even etymologically. If this is correct, 
it throws light on the real significance of the term 
'Min,' and shows that the fundamental idea of heresy 
in the Rabbinical theology is the same as in that of 
the prophets, viz., spiritual unfaithfulness symbolised 
as conjugal unfaithfulness. This subject will be more 
fully dealt with in the concluding section of this work. 

The Midrash in Ps. xxii. 1 appears to explain the 
double use of 'my God' by the twofold revelation 
of God to his people, first at the Red Sea, second on 
Sinai. The Psalmist accordingly is not appealing to 
two Gods, but to one and the same. Friedmann 
adds, that the Midrash probably had in mind the 
utterance of Jesus on the Cross [Matt, xxvii. 46], 
which is a quotation of Ps. xxii. 1 in the Aramaic, 
not in the Hebrew. 

There can be no doubt that in the passage before 
us, the reference is to Jesus ; and this, in connexion 



with passages previously considered, establishes the 
close association of Minuth with Christianity. 

R. Hija bar Abba was a Babylonian settled in 
Palestine; he belonged to the group of disciples of 
R. Johanan, and may thus be placed in the latter half 
of the third century and the beginning of the fourth. 

The Unity of God. Two Powers: 
A Second God. 

(122) Debar, r. ii. 33, p. 104 c .— [Prov. xxiv. 21], ; 
Meddle not with them that are given to change. 
Meddle not with those who say there is a 
second God. R. Jehudah bar Simon said 
[Zech. xiii. 8], And it shall come to pass that 
in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein 
shall be cut off and die. The mouths that 
say, There are two powers, shall be cut off; 
and die. And who will remain in existence ? 
[Zech., ibid.\ And the third part therein shall 
be left, these are Israel, who are called thirds, 
for they are threefold, Priests, Levites, Israel- 
ites, from three fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and 
Jacob. Another explanation, because they 
praise the Holy One, Blessed be He, with 
three ' holies ' — holy, holy, holy. R. Aha said, 
The Holy One, Blessed be He, was angry with 
Solomon, because he had said this verse [Prov. 
xxiv. 21]. He said to him, ' In the matter of 
hallowing my name, thou hast spoken in terms 
of " Notariqon," * Meddle not with them that are 

1 * Notariqon,' a species of cipher, or cryptogram, usually formed by 
reading the initials of several words as one word. In the present instance 
nothing more seems intended than a play upon the words DOE?, two, and 
DOIC, ' given to change.' 


given to change.' Immediately he [Solomon] 
turned and made the matter plain [by saying, 
Ecc. iv. 8], There is one and there is no 
second; he hath neither son nor brother. He 
hath neither brother nor son, but [Deut. vi. 4], 
Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord 
is one. 

The above passage occurs, almost in the 
same words, in Bamm. r. xvi. 14, p. 66 c . 
Commentary. — It is only needful to point out that 
here the doctrine of Two Powers is usefully para- 
phrased as the doctrine of a second God. This con- 
firms what has been said in explanation of the doctrine 
under previous heads. The Minim are not mentioned, 
but are clearly intended. 

R. Jehudah bar Simun was a Palestinian, of the 
fourth century. If the interpretation of the text in 
Zechariah may be taken literally, it would show that 
the Minim as compared with the Jews were in a 
majority. But it is more probable that the 'two 
parts ' (lit. the ' two mouths ') are only used to serve 
as the basis for the interpretation " the mouths which 
say there are two Gods." In like manner the word 
translated ' given to change ' (nvw) is connected with 
the word meaning ' second ' (ws>). 

In Pesiqta r., p. 98 a , there is a passing reference 
to the doctrine of Two Powers. Moses charges 
the angels with holding that doctrine, and refutes 
them with the text, / am the Lord thy God 
[Exod. xx. 2} 


The Torah. The ' Carping ' of the Minim 

(123) j. Ber. 3 C . — And they recited the 'Ten 
Words,' 'Hear [O Israel],' 'And it shall be 
if them hearest; ' And he said: R. Ami in the 
name of Resh Laqish [said], ' This shows that 
the benedictions do not hinder.' R. Ba said, 
'That proves nothing; we do not learn any- 
thing thence. For the " Ten Words," these 
are the very essence of the Shema'.' R. 
Mathnah and R. Shemuel bar Nahman both 
said, ' It was sought that they should recite 
the " Ten Words " every day. And why do 
they not recite them? Because of the mis- 
representation of the Minim, that they might 
not say, "These alone were given to Moses 
on Sinai."' 

(124) b. Ber. 12 a .— And they recite the 'Ten 
Words,' ' Hear [O Israel]: ' And it shall be if 
thou Iwarest; ' And he said: 'True and stead- 
fast,' ' Service,' and the ' Blessing of the Priests.' 
R. Jehudah said that Shemuel said, ' Even in 
the surrounding districts [of Jerusalem] they 
sought to recite thus; but they had already 
discontinued it because of the carping of the 
Minim.' For it is tradition also, R. Nathan 
said, ' In the surrounding districts they sought 
to recite thus, but they had already discon- 
tinued it because of the carping of the Minim.' 
Rabah bar Rab Huna thought to establish it 
in Sura; but R. Hisda said to him, 'They 
have already discontinued it, because of the 
carping of the Minim.' Amemar thought to 


establish it in Nehardea ; but R. Ashi said 
to him, 'They have already discontinued it, 
because of the carping of the Minim. ' 
(125) b. Pesah. 56\ — Our Rabbis have taught, 
How did they connect [the words of] the 
Shema'? They said, ' Hear, O Israel, the 
Lord our God the Lord is one,' and they did 
not divide [the words] : the words of R. Meir. 
R. Jehudah said, They did divide (them), but 
not so as to say, ' Blessed be the name of the 
glory of his kingdom for ever and ever.' And 
we, on what ground do we say it ? [i.e. Blessed 
be the name, etc.]. According to the exposi- 
tion of R. Shim'on ben Laqish. For R. 
Shim'on ben Laqish said [Gen. xlix. 1], And 
Jacob called together his sons, and said. Gather 
yourselves together and I will declare ; Jacob 
sought to reveal to his sons the end of the 
days, but the Shechinah departed from him. 
He said, • Perhaps, Heaven forbid, there has 
been a defect in my marriage-bed, as there was 
to Abraham, from whom proceeded Ishmael, 
and to Isaac my father, from whom proceeded 
Esau.' His sons said to him [Deut. vi. 4], 
Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God the Lord 
is one. They said, ' Even as in thy heart there 
is but One, so in our heart there is but One.' 
In that hour Jacob our father began to say, 
'Blessed be the name of the glory of his 
kingdom for ever and ever.' Our Rabbis said, 
' How shall we act ? If we say it [i.e. Blessed, 
etc.], Moses our master did not say it. If we 
do not say it, Jacob did say it.' They ordered 


that men should say it in a whisper. R. 

Jitzhaq said (some say that one of the school 

of R. Ami said), A parable of a king's daughter 

who smelt spices [and desired them]. If she 

said so, she would be disgraced ; if she did 

not say so, she would suffer. Her servants 

began to bring them to her silently. R. Abahu 

said, They ordered that men should say it in a 

loud voice because of the carping of the Minim ; 

but in Nehardea, where there are no Minim, 

they even now say it in a whisper.' 

Commentary. — The three passages translated above 

are connected together by their subject-matter, the 

main point in them all being some peculiarity in the 

recital of the daily prayers, which was said to be due 

to the 'carping' of the Minim. In (123) and (124) 

it is explained that this was the reason why the 

Decalogue was not recited every day. In (125) an 

explanation is attempted of the origin and varying 

method of recital of the liturgical response, " Blessed 

be the name of the glory of his kingdom for ever and 

ever." The Shema', which is mentioned in all three 

passages, is the central point of the liturgy, and 

consists of three groups of verses from Scripture, viz., 

Deut. vi. 4-9, ib. xi. 13-21, and Num. xv. 37-41. 

The term Shema' is used in a stricter sense, to denote 

the opening words of the first of these groups, i.e. the 

words, Hear [Shema', vow], O Israel, the Lord thy 

God, the Lord is one. The second group is referred 

to, from its opening words, as, 'And it shall be ,' and 

the third, in like manner, as, 'And he said.' In the 

liturgy, the response, 'Blessed be the name,' etc., 

comes immediately after 'Hear, O Israel,' etc., and 


is thus seen to be an interpolation into the Scripture 
text. The Decalogue was intended to be recited 
immediately before the Shema'. 1 

It is clear, from the contents of the above passages, 
that nothing was certainly known concerning the 
omission of the Decalogue, or the addition of the 
response, except the fact that both were due to the 
\ carping of the Minim.' In other words, both gave 
to the Minim the opportunity to misrepresent the 
Jewish religion and to advance their own heretical 
opinions. If the Decalogue were repeated every day, 
it was thought that the Minim would say that only 
the Ten Commandments [Hebr., the Ten Words] 
were given to Moses, and that all the rest was un- 
inspired. Of more importance is the addition of the 
response, " Blessed be the name," etc. This follows 
immediately after "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our 
God, the Lord is one" This text is the watchword of 
the Divine Unity ; and it was in connexion with this 
that the misrepresentation of the Minim was most to 
be expected. In (125) it is said by one Rabbi that 
in the recital of this text the words were divided by 
a pause, so that presumably the meaning would be, 
"The Lord is our God; the Lord is one." By 
another Rabbi it is said that the words were not 
divided by a pause, and that the response was not 
added. In this case the text would read, " The Lord 
our God the Lord, is one " ; and perhaps this form 

1 In the Jewish Quarterly Review y April 1903, p. 392 ff., there is a very 
interesting account of a papyrus fragment in Hebrew, containing the Deca- 
logue immediately followed by the Shema\ The fragment appears to date 
from the first century of our era, and the text shows slight divergencies 
from the Massoretic text The papyrus is now in the Cambridge University 


would lend itself to heretical misrepresentation, by 
those who denied the Divine Unity, more than the 
first form. However this may be, the addition of the 
response after the word ' one ' would be much more 
likely to lead to misrepresentation, especially if, as is 
stated in (125), it was originally said in a whisper. 
The effect would be that, in the recital of the liturgy, 
after the declaration of the Divine Unity followed a 
pause during which something was whispered. The 
reason why it was whispered at first is no doubt 
truly indicated in the fantastic haggadah of (125), 
viz., that it was an extra-biblical interpolation into a 
Scripture text. But it appears that this practice of 
whispering the response was misrepresented by the 
Minim ; and consequently it was ordered that the 
response should be said aloud, so that there might be 
no uncertainty as to the words really used. Apart 
from that reason, the older method of whispering the 
response was preferred ; and accordingly, in places 
where there were no Minim, the practice was kept 
up. This is expressly stated by R. Abahu, who 
explains why it was ordered that the response should 
— where there were Minim — be said in a loud voice. 

The attempts described in (124) of several Rabbis 
to introduce in Babylonia some practice already dis- 
continued owing to the Minim, refer, I think, to the 
recital of the Decalogue before the Shema', and not 
to the response after it. 

It remains to inquire into the date at which the 
order was made in regard to the recital of the 
response in a loud voice. With this object in view, 
1 include here another passage, in which mention is 
made of ordinances directed against the Minim. 


(126) M. Ber. ix. 5. — All who concluded benedic- 
tions in the sanctuary used to say 'from the 
world ' [i.e. from of old]. After the Minim 
corrupted [religion] and said that there was 
only one world, they ordered that they should 
say * from world to world ' [i.e. ' from age to 
age,' ' for ever and ever ']. And they ordered 
that a man should greet his companion with 
the Name, as it is said [Ruth ii. 4], And, 
behold, JSoaz went, etc. 
This passage is from the Mishnah, and thus older 
than the three previous ones. Although the Minim 
are here mentioned, it is doubtful whether they are 
really intended. The mention of the change in the 
liturgy, by the substitution of the fuller doxology 
' from world to world,' may be nothing more than an 
inference from Neh. ix. 5, and the reason for it a 
recollection of the Sadducees. It is true that the 
Minim are said to have denied the doctrine of 
Immortality ; but, as has been already shown (see 
above, p. 232 fol.), what they really denied was 
the Scripture proof of the doctrine. Moreover, the 
liturgical alteration referred to in (126) seems a rather 
feeble counterblast against a denial of Immortality. 

Gratz (G. d. J., iv. 458) suggests the revolt of 
Bar Cocheba, 135 a.d., as the date when the two 
ordinances referred to in (126) were made. This is 
possible, and perhaps not improbable ; but I cannot 
find any sufficient evidence for the suggestion. It is 
remarkable that the Mishnah passes over in silence 
the famous change in the liturgy made by Gamliel II. 
at Jabneh, when the ■ formula concerning the Minim ' 
was drawn up (see above, p. 125 fol.), and incorpor- 


ated in the Eighteen Benedictions. If the ordinance 
about greeting with the Name, i.e. the sacred name 
JHVH, had any reference to the Minim, it is at 
least possible that it was made at the same time as 
the formula against the Minim. Liturgical precau- 
tions against Minuth seem to imply a time when 
Minim might be expected to be present in the syna- 
gogues where the liturgy was recited. Thus the 
regulations referred to in (123), (124), and (125), the 
origin of which was clearly unknown to those who 
recorded them, may, with some probability, be referred 
to the same period. But certainty on the point is 
unattainable ; and it should be noted that in regard 
to (125), R. Hananel, in his commentary on the 
passage, appears to have read in his text of Pesahim 
that the ordinance was made in Usha. If this rests 
on anything historical, then the date would be that 
of the famous assembly at Usha, held after the 
suppression of the revolt of Bar Cocheba, say about 
140 a.d. But in the references to the decrees of that 
assembly, no mention is made of liturgical changes, 
or of the Minim. The attention of the assembly 
seems to have been mainly given to questions affect- 
ing property and family life, in view of the disorders 
resulting from the war and the subsequent persecution 
by the Romans. No manuscript authority is quoted 
by Rabbinowicz in favour of the reading which men- 
tions Usha. On the whole, while disclaiming any 
certainty, I think it is probable that the liturgical 
changes referred to in the passages under considera- 
tion were made by the assembly at Jabneh, in the 
time of Gamliel II., say about the end of the first 


For some other liturgical peculiarities deemed 
heretical, see above, p. 199 fol. 


(127) Shem. r. xliv. 6, p. 73 c , d .— Another explana- 
tion [Exod. xxxii. 13]: Remember Abraham 
[Isaac and Israel]. Why does he mention 
the three Fathers? R. Levi said, 'Moses 
said, Lord of the world, are the dead living ? 
He said to him, Moses, thou art become a 
Min,' etc. 

Commentary. — This passage is of interest only as 
showing that to deny the Scripture warrant for im- 
mortality is a sign of Minuth. For the attitude of 
the Minim to the doctrine of Immortality, see above, 
pp. 232, 280. The rest of the passage quoted has 
nothing to do with Minuth. R. Levi was a younger 
contemporary of R. Johanan. 


The Ground of Departure of the Minim 

(128) T. Meg. iv. 37.— Hence R. Shim'on ben 
EFazar used to say, One man alone is not 
competent to reply to a corrupting speech; 
for the Minim take their ground of departure 
from the answer that Aaron gave to Moses. 

Commentary. — The reference is to Exod. xxxii 
22-24, in which Aaron excuses himself to Moses 
for having made the golden calf. The Erfurt MS. 
of Tosephta reads, ' The answer which Moses gave to 


Aaron,' which is obviously an error. The 'ground 
of departure' of the Minim would seem to be the 
rejection of the authority of Moses implied in the 
act of making the calf. R. Shim'on ben El'azar was 
a disciple of R. Meir, in the second half of the second 
century. There is nothing to identify the Minim 
with Christians in this passage; what is said would 
apply to all Jewish heretics. 

In (129) b. Meg. 25 b there is a somewhat differ- 
ent version of the above passage. R. Shim'on ben 
El'azar says, 'Let a man always be careful in his 
answers ; for from the answer which Aaron gave to 
Moses, the Minim [so ace. to the MSS.] have gone 
astray ; for it is said [Exod. xxxii. 24], I cast it in the 
fire, and there came out this calf.* The commentators 
explain this to mean that the Minim inferred from 
the answer of Aaron that there was some truth in 
so-called false religion. 

Do not give Place to the Minim 

(130) T. Par. iii. 3. — They said, in the presence of 

R. Aqiba, in the name of R. Ishma'el, Cups of 

stone were hung on the horns of the oxen ; 

when the oxen stooped to drink, the cups 

were filled. He said to them, 'Do not give 

occasion to the Minim to humble you.' 

Commentary. — The phrase, ' Do not give occasion 

to the Minim to humble you,' occurs also in the 

following passages : (i) M. Par. iii. 3, where the 

speaker is R. Jose, and the printed text has D>pm' in 

place of p>» ; (ii) T. Joma iii. 2, where the speaker 

is R. Aqiba. The subject-matter in every case is 


different. The Mishnah in Joma does not contain 
the phrase ; but in the Babylonian Gemara, Joma 
40 b , it is quoted in a Baraitha apparently from the 
Tosephta. Here the printed text has D*pm in place 
of p*o ; but the latter is the reading of the MSS. 
and of the early editions, as shown by Rabbinowicz. 

The literal meaning of the phrase is clear; but 
the application of it is very difficult to understand. 
In every instance where it occurs, the matter under 
discussion is a minute detail of ritual, connected with 
either the killing of the red heifer [Num. xix. 1-13] 
or the casting of lots for the scape-goat [Lev. xvi. 8 
fol.]. In the time of R. Aqiba (or R. Jos£, i.e. 
probably R. Jose' ben Halaphta) the ritual in question 
was no longer practised, having ceased to be possible 
when the Temple was destroyed. The discussion 
upon them was therefore purely academic. Accord- 
ingly the difficulty arises, What reason was there to 
fear the Minim? From all that we have learnt 
hitherto, it does not appear that the Minim took part 
or interest in the discussions upon halachah in the 
Rabbinical assemblies. The frequent controversies 
between Minim and Jewish Rabbis turned chiefly 
upon the interpretation of texts of Scripture, and 
were concerned with doctrine rather than with ritual. 
If the ceremonies referred to had been actually per- 
formed in the time of R. Aqiba, it would be more 
easy to understand that the Minim might have found 
occasion to criticise, and in some way to 'humble/ 
the Jews. But the ceremonies had long been dis- 
used, together with all else that depended upon the 
existence of the Temple. 

Since, then, the discussion related to the manner 


in which these ceremonies had once been performed, 
or ought to have been performed, we may interpret 
the phrase about the Minim as a suggestion that the 
opinions of those to whom R. Aqiba (or R. Jose) 
addressed the remark were heretical, or at least 
would support the contentions of the Minim. I can 
offer no better explanation than this, and am aware 
that it is not complete. I cannot show in what way 
the opinions put forward tended to favour heresy. 
The commentators on the passage in b. Joma 40 b , 
where the discussion refers to the scape-goat, explain 
that the Minim will say that Azazel, for whom the 
scape-goat was intended, was a second God, and 
thus will taunt the Jews with admitting the doctrine 
of Two Powers. But that criticism on the part of 
the Minim, if it were made at all, would be applic- 
able to the original text in Lev. xvi., not merely to 
one small detail of the ritual connected with the 
scape-goat. And as for the reference to the 'cups 
of stone ' hung on the horns of the oxen, it is hard 
to see what this has to do with Minuth, or why the 
Minim should object to it more than to the whole 
series of ceremonies of which it was a small part. 
If it were alleged that the Minim did object to, or 
rather deny the validity of, the whole procedure in 
reference to the red heifer and to the scape-goat, 
then it might be pointed out that these two are 
mentioned in the Epistle to the Hebrews, a writing 
with which we have seen reason to believe the Minim 
were familiar. It is, of course, possible that such a 
reference underlies the phrase we are considering, 
but in itself it is quite too slight and vague to serve 
as the foundation for any such conclusion. 


An alternative explanation is that the reference 
is not to the Minim but to the Sadducees. This is 
supported by the printed text of the Mishnah, and 
by the fact that in two other passages of b. Joma, 19 b 
and 53 b , the Sadducees are undoubtedly referred to 
in a discussion upon certain matters of ritual. It 
is true that the Sadducees passed out of history 
along with the Temple, at least it is probable they 
did so. But there might, and indeed did, remain 
the tradition of Sadducean practice and theory ; and 
the phrase under consideration would, in this case, 
mean that the opinions against which Aqiba pro- 
tested were, in his judgment, Sadducean. But there 
is nothing to establish any connexion between the 
opinions put forward and the teaching or practice 
of the Sadducees. And if there were, it is a ques- 
tion whether it would have been worth while for 
R. Aqiba to have referred to a virtually extinct 
opponent. The Minim, whoever they were, were 
by no means extinct in the time of R. Aqiba ; and 
although it be now impossible to explain the precise 
force of his remark, there can be little doubt that he 
intended it to guard against a danger which he felt 
to be real. 

A Canon of Minuth. 

(131) Ber. r. xlviii. 6, p. 97 b , c .— R. Jonathan said, 
Everywhere that ■ hypocrisy ' (pibupi) occurs in 
a verse, the Scripture speaks of Minuth ; and 
the common element in them all is [indicated 
by Isa. xxxiii. 14], The sinners in Zion are 
afraid ; trembling hath seized the hypocrites. 

Commentary. — This is really only an obiter dictum 


founded on the text in Isaiah. It never was applied 
as a regular canon of interpretation. It amounts to 
little more than the assertion that the essence of 
Minuth is ' hypocrisy.' The word so translated has 
the root-meaning of * change,' ' substitution,' and 
thence 'pretence.' It is most frequently used in 
reference to religion, and implies either the pre- 
tence of being religious, or the fact of being irre- 
ligious ; thus, either ' hypocrisy ' or * godlessness.' R. 
Jonathan accordingly declared that Minuth consisted 
in hypocrisy, an outward profession of religion, i.e. 
the Jewish religion, together with the denial of the 
substance of it. The text in Isaiah was intended 
as a convenient reminder of the alleged connexion 
between hypocrisy and Minuth, but probably R. 
Jonathan's remark about Minuth was suggested to 
him by the occurrence of the word 'hypocrites,' 
when he was expounding the text in Isaiah. 
For R. Jonathan, see above, pp. 216, 254. 

A Chance for the Minim. "I have hardened 
Pharaoh's Heart" 

(132) Shem. r. xiii. 3, p. 24 b . — Another explana- 
tion : For I have hardened his heart [Exod. x. 
1]. R. Johanan said, ' Here is an " opening 
of the mouth " for the Minim to say, It was 
not in his [Pharaoh's] power that he should 
repent, as it is said, For I have hardened his 
heart.' R. Shimon ben Laqish said to him, 
' Let the mouth of the Minim be shut ! But 
[Prov. iii. 34], Surely he scorneth the scorners ! 
For the Holy One, Blessed be He, warns a 


man once, twice, thrice ; and [if] he does not 
turn, then He closes his [the man's] heart 
against repentance, so as to punish him for 
the sin which he committed. Even so [of) 
Pharaoh the wicked. When the Holy One, 
Blessed be He, had sent to him five times, 
and he had not taken heed to His words, then 
the Holy One, Blessed be He, said to him, 
Thou hast stiffened thy neck, and thou hast 
hardened thine heart. Lo, I add to thee un- 
cleanness to thy uncleanness.' 
Commentary. — R. Johanan and his colleague R. 
Shim on ben Laqish have been frequently mentioned. 
They lived in Tiberias in the latter half of the 
third century. Who are referred to as the Minim 
in this passage is not clear. Bacher (A. d. P. A., 
i. 258 n. 1) says that "the Minim here are Gnostics, 
who held that the God of the O.T. did not desire 
the good," and therefore did not allow Pharaoh to 
repent. 1 do not presume to say that this inter- 
pretation is incorrect. Yet the argument of R. 
Shimon ben Laqish seems to show that the point 
in dispute was, not the goodness or otherwise of God, 
but the possibility of repentance on the part of 
Pharaoh. The Minim are charged by R. Johanan 
with saying, ■ It was not in the power of Pharaoh 
to repent, because God hardened his heart/ The 
rejoinder to that is that Pharaoh could have repented, 
and was given five opportunities to repent, and that 
only when he had neglected all these did God close 
his heart against repentance, so that Pharaoh might 
be justly punished for his sins. That many Gnostics 

thought that the God of the O.T. did not desire the 



good, is perhaps true. But if the Minim are to be 
identified with such Gnostics, then we should expect 
that the question of the goodness of God would be 
frequently debated between Minim and Jews ; and 
this we have not found to be the case. 

An alternative interpretation is not impossible. 
We have already found reason to connect with the 
doctrines of the Minim the teaching of the Epistle to 
the Hebrews (see above, pp. 265 fol.). Now, in that 
Epistle, vi. 6, there is a remarkable saying about 
repentance, It is impossible to renew them to re- 
pentance. The writer of the epistle applies this to 
those who were once enlightened .... and fell away. 
And, of course, such a case as that of Pharaoh does 
not come within the range of the principle laid down. 
But that would not prevent an opponent from saying 
that the Epistle to the Hebrews taught the im- 
possibility of repentance. And if, further, such 
impossibility was held to be not merely on the part 
of man but on the part of God, then R. Johanan 
might with justice say that the text which he quoted, 
/ have hardened his heart, bore out the doctrine 
which he supposed the Minim to hold. R. Shim'on 
ben Laqish agreed with him in supposing that the 
Minim held such a doctrine ; but he sought to show 
that the text quoted did not support it, and that if 
a man did not repent, it was his own fault. God 
did not prevent him from repenting, but only, after 
repeated warning, accepted the fact and inflicted 

It is worth notice that this very case of Pharaoh 
is mentioned in the Epistle to the Romans, ix. 17, 18, 
For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh [cp. Exod. ix. 


16], ' For this very purpose did I raise thee up, that 
I might show in thee my power, and that my name 
might be publislied abroad in all the earth" So then 
he hath mercy on whom he will, and whom lie will he 
hardeneth. That the Epistle to the Romans was 
known to the Rabbis is extremely doubtful. But it 
may have been known to the readers of the Epistle 
to the Hebrews ; and if not that, there is at least so 
much of connexion of thought between the two 
epistles as to make it probable that the idea of the 
unconditional sovereignty of God would be accept- 
able to the readers of the Epistle to the Hebrews. 
On the whole, therefore, while admitting that the 
Minim in the present passage may represent Gnostics, 
I think it more probable that, as elsewhere, so here 
they denote Jewish Christians holding the doctrines 
of the Epistle to the Hebrews. 

Four Classes of Minim 

(133) Jalq. Shim., Ps. lx. 9 (7). — Another ex- 
planation [Ps. lx. 9], Gilcad is mine. R. 
Shim'on ben Laqish said, ' If the Minim say to 
thee that the Holy One, Blessed be He, doth 
not revive the dead, say to them, Behold 
Elijah, who was of Tishbi in Gilead, testifying 
that I have revived the dead by his hand. And 
Manasseh is mine. If they say to thee that 
the Holy One, Blessed be He, doth not 
receive repentance, say to them, Behold 
Manasseh, testifying that I received him in 
repentance, as it is said [2 Chron. xxxiii. 13], 
And he prayed to the Lord; and he was 


intreated of him and heard his prayer. 
Ephraim is the defence of my head. And if 
they say unto thee that the Holy One, Blessed 
be He, doth not visit the barren, Behold 
Elkanah of whom it is written [1 Sam. i. 1], 
A son of Tohu, a son of Zoph, an Ephraimite, 
testifying that I visited Hannah. Judah is my 
sceptre. And if they say unto thee that the 
Holy One, Blessed be He, doth not deliver 
from the fire, Behold Hananiah and his com- 
panions testifying that He delivered them 
from the fire ; as it is said [Dan. i. 6], Now 
among them were of the children of Judah, 
Daniel, Hananiah. 
Commentary. — The above passage occurs, with no 
important variations, in Bamm. r. xiv. 1 ; and in 
Tanhuma, Nissa, § 30. The author is undoubtedly 
R. Shimon ben Laqish, as Bacher points out. 

The text of Ps. lx. 9 is not interpreted, but is 
forced by sheer violence to suggest a refutation of 
four heretical doctrines, which are ascribed to the 
Minim. It is only indeed in connexion with the first 
heresy, viz., the denial of the resurrection of the 
dead, that the Minim are mentioned ; but they are 
clearly intended in all four instances of alleged 
heresy. Moreover, the heresy that God does not 
receive a penitent is expressly ascribed to the Minim 
in the passage translated above (p. 320), where the 
refutation is given by R. Shim on ben Laqish. I do 
not know of any ground for ascribing, either to 
Gnostics or to Jewish Christians, the doctrines that 
God does not give children to the barren women, 
and that he does not save men from the fire. Who, 


therefore, are meant by the Minim in these two 
instances, I am unable to suggest. 

Words of the Minim 

(134) Siphri, § 48, p. 84 a .— R. Shimon ben Menasja 
says [Prov. v. 15], Drink waters out of thine 
own well, drink the waters of thy creator; 
and do not drink foul waters, lest thou be 
drawn with the words of the Minim. 

Commentary. — R. Shim'on ben Menasja was a 
contemporary of R. Jehudah ha-Qadosh, in the 
beginning of the third century. 

The application of the text in Prov. v. 15 to the 
Minim is chiefly of interest because it is found in an 
early Midrash. In itself it contains nothing new. 
We have already seen that this chapter of Proverbs 
was by other Rabbis interpreted in reference to 
Minuth (see above, p. 185). 

92. "They that hate Me." The Minim 

(135) Siphri, § 331, p. 140 a .— {Deut. xxxii. 41], 
/ will render vengeance to mine adversaries, 
these are the Cuthiim [Samaritans] ; as it is 
said [Ezra iv. 1], And the adversaries of Judah 
and Benjamin heard that the children of the 
captivity were building the Temple. And I will 
recompense tliem that hate me, these are the 
Minim ; and thus He [i.c God, in Scripture] 
saith [Ps. cxxxix. 21, 22], Do I not hate them 
which liate thee, O Lord ? and am I not grieved 
with those that rise up against thee ? I hate 


them with a perfect hatred ; they have become 

as enemies to me. 

Commentary. — Observe that the Minim are here 

distinguished from the Samaritans. In a few 

passages the reading varies between Minim and 


For the application of Ps. cxxxix. 21, 22 to the 
Minim, see above, p. 156, where R. Ishmael cites the 
same text in reference to the books of the Minim. 

A Reply to the Minim. Genealogies 

(136) b. B. Bath. r. 91 a . — And R. Hanan bar 
Rabba said that Rab said, The mother of 
Abraham was Amathlai bath Carnebo ; the 
mother of Haman was Amathlai bath Orbathi ; 
and thy signs are, ' Unclean, unclean,' ' Clean, 
clean/ The mother of David was Nizzebath 
bath Adael, the mother of Samson was Zelal- 
ponith, and his sister Nesiin. To what does 
this tend? To an answer to the Minim. 
Commentary. — R. Hanan b. Rabba was a son-in- 
law of Rab, the disciple of R. Jehudah ha-Qadosh, 
who carried to Babylonia the tradition embodied in 
the Mishnah. Rab is the sole authority for the 
names of personages in the above list. He may 
have invented them. Only one, Zelalponith, is found 
in the O.T., and that, in a slightly different form, 
1 Chr. iv. 3. Whether Rab intended them to serve 
as an 'answer to the Minim,' there is nothing to 
show. The Gemara does not explain how they 
could serve such a purpose. Rashi says, "The 
Minim asks us concerning these more than concern- 


ing other women, and we reply that [the names] have 
been handed down to us, orally, by the prophets." 
Why the Minim, whether Gnostics or Jewish 
Christians, should have been curious on the subject, 
I do not know. Possibly the reference to 'endless 
genealogies,' 1 Tim. i. 3, may have some bearing on 
the point. 

The Minim and the New Moon 

(137) M. R. ha-Sh., ii. 1.— If they do not know 
him, they send another with him to vouch for 
him. Formerly they used to receive evidence 
as to the new moon from anyone. Since the 
Minim acted perversely, they ordained that 
they should not receive evidence except from 
such as were known. 
Commentary, — This passage is from the Mishnah, 
and its extreme terseness of style requires some expan- 
sion. The subject under discussion is the question 
of determining the time of new moon, the time upon 
which depended the date of the festivals in the suc- 
ceeding month. The beginning of the month was 
the day on which the new moon was first seen after 
conjunction with the sun. Evidence was therefore 
taken from those who had seen the new moon. Such 
witnesses must of course be trustworthy; therefore 
(and here our passage begins), if a witness was un- 
known to those appointed to receive evidence, another 
man accompanied him, in order to vouch for his 
credibility. Formerly anyone might give evidence. 
But from the time that the Minim introduced some 
mischievous practice, it was ordered that only the 


evidence of such witnesses as were personally known 
should be received. 

This is an interesting as well as an obscure passage ; 
and though both the Gemaras make some reference 
to it, they do not give a complete explanation. 

In the first place, there is no doubt that the read- 
ing ' Minim ' [p*o] is the correct one. It is the read- 
ing of the Mishnah, as printed separately, and of the 
text of the Mishnah incorporated in the Gemaras. 
(See Rabbinowicz on b. R. ha-Sh. 22 b .) The verse of 
the Mishnah immediately following (R. ha-Sh., ii. 
2) mentions the Samaritans [D*n»], as having intro- 
duced some corrupt practice. Thus the Mishnah is 
aware that the Samaritans are not the same as the 
Minim, and therefore the mention of the Minim is 
intentional. When we turn to the Tosephta and the 
Gemaras, we find a source of confusion in a story 
about certain people called Baithusin [^Din^n] who 
also introduced corrupt practices. The Tosephta 
gives this story [R. ha-Sh., i. 15], and does not say 
anything about the Minim. It says, " Formerly they 
used to receive evidence from any man. On one 
occasion the Baithusin hired two witnesses to come 
and deceive the Wise ; because the Baithusin do 
not admit that Atzereth [Pentecost] should be on 
[any day] except the day after a Sabbath." [There- 
fore they sought to influence the calculation upon 
which the day of the feast ultimately depended.] 

The Palestinian Gemara R. ha-Sh. 57 d , in its com- 
ments upon the alleged corrupt practices, appears to 
depend upon the notice in Tosephta just mentioned. 
The Minim are not referred to by name. It is stated 
that the ' corrupt practice ' consisted in keeping Pente- 


cost on the day after a Sabbath, and assuming that 
that day had been consecrated as the feast day ; 
whereas the right day, according to the view of the 
Talmudic Rabbis, the fiftieth day from the first 
Paschal day, might fall later in the week. After this 
explanation has been given there follows the story 
about the Baithusin and their false witnesses. It is 
possible, therefore, that the explanation about the 
fiftieth day being kept on a Sunday does not refer 
to the Baithusin, but to the Minim. 

In the Babylonian Gemara, R. ha-Sh. 22 b , the 
printed text has the following: — (138) "Formerly 
they used to receive evidence concerning the new 
moon from any man. [This is the quotation of the 
Mishnah.] Our Rabbis have taught : What corrupt 
practice did the ■ Baithusin ' commit ? On one occa- 
sion," etc., and then follows the story about the false 
witnesses. Now the correct reading in this passage is 
not ' Baithusin,' but ' Minim ' (see Rabbinowicz on 
R. ha-Sh. 22 b ). The alteration has no doubt been 
made on account of the mention of the Baithusin in 
the story which follows. That story, a graphically- 
told anecdote, seems to me to have obscured the re- 
ference to the Minim, and led to the belief that the 
Mishnah, in its charge against the Minim, was really 
referring to the Baithusin; accordingly the story is 
quoted in explanation. Who the Baithusin were is 
not certain, probably the name indicates more than 
one religious party at different epochs. The story of 
their false witnesses implies Jerusalem for the scene 
of it, and, if historical, is thus earlier than a.d. 70. 
But the ' corrupt practices ' which had to be guarded 
against continued long after that date. In the 


Palestinian Gemara, R. ha-Sh. 57 d , it is stated that 
R. Nehorai once went to Usha * to corroborate a wit- 
ness for the new moon. Thereupon follows immedi- 
ately the explanation already given about the day of 
Pentecost being kept on a Sunday. 

Now, whether the Minim are identical with the 
Baithusin or not, it is quite possible that the Minim 
may have had their own reasons for holding a similar 
view with regard to the proper days of Passover and 
Pentecost. If the Minim were Jewish Christians, it is 
easy to understand that they would have an interest 
in the date of Pentecost, and the corresponding 
fiftieth day previous to Pentecost. The Jewish 
Christians kept the Jewish feasts, but read into them 
a Christian meaning, and connected with Passover 
and Pentecost the death of Jesus and the gift of the 
Holy Ghost. Jesus was crucified on a Friday, and, 
according to the Gospels, rose again on the Sunday 
following. The first Christian Pentecost was likewise 
on a Sunday. Now, according to the Jewish usage, 
the fourteenth day of Nisan, the day of Passover, 
might fall upon any day of the week. The Jewish 
Christians would naturally prefer that it should fall 
on a Friday, so that the fast and feast days should 
correspond with those of the original Passion-week 
and the subsequent Pentecost. Since it was the 
custom, according to the Mishnah, to fix the appear- 
ance of the new moon by the evidence of eye-wit- 
nesses, and to determine the days of the month 
accordingly, Jewish Christians could give evidence as 

1 The Sanhedrin, or at least the Nasi and his colleagues, met at Usha 
a.d. 130 circa, and again in a.d. 140 circa. Probably the visit of R. Nehorai 
took place at the earlier date. 


well as others. And, whether or not they ever 
attempted to influence the determination of the days 
of the month, their evidence would be open to sus- 
picion, because they were known to be biassed in 
favour of a particular day of the week for the four- 
teenth of Nisan. 

If, then, according to the reading of the Mishnah, 
the Minim are really referred to in connexion with 
the subject of the new moon witnesses, there is some 
amount of ground for identifying them with Jewish 
Christians. That the Minim in this instance can be 
Gnostics is out of the question. The Gnostics did 
not pay any regard to the ' set feasts ' of the Jewish 
religion, and would not care what might be the day 
of the week on which they fell. 

The Minim and Alexander the Great 

In Vajiqr. r. xiii. 5, p. 19 c , it is related that 
Alexander the Great showed honour to the High 
Priest, Shim'on ha-Tzaddiq, and that the 'Minim' 
remonstrated with him for doing so. The story 
occurs in Josephus, Antiq., xi. 8, 5, and is repeated in 
b. Joma 69 d , and Pesiqta d. R. Kahana, Parah, p. 41 a . 
Neither of the two Hebrew texts mentions the word 
1 Minim.' The text in Joma has simply ' they said to 
him ' ; the text in Pesiqta has ■ his courtiers said to 
him.' The reading 'Minim,' or rather ■ Minai,' in 
Vajiqr. r. may be explained as being, at the late date 
of the compilation of this Midrash, merely a general 
term for enemies of the Jews. It is sufficient to 
mention this passage without going to the trouble of 
translating it. 


In like manner it will be sufficient to mention, 
without comment, some few passages which merely 
allude to Minim, but contain nothing of importance 
for the study of them. These passages are as 
follows : — 

Minim, Casual References 

(i) b. Ber. 7 a , Sanh. 105 b , A. Zar. 4 b .— R. Jehoshua 
ben Levi is annoyed by a Min, who lived 
near him. The fact is mentioned on account 
of the device which the Rabbi made use of, 
unsuccessfully, to draw down a curse upon 
his enemy. 

(ii) b. Ber. 5V — The Minim say there is only one 
world. See above, p. 313 fol. The reading 
1 Minim ' is correct, yet it is possible that the 
original reference was to the Sadducees. 

(iii) lb., 56 b . — A Min asks R. Ishmael to interpret 
certain dreams. There is no reference to 

(iv) lb. 58 a . — A Min converses with R. Shesheth. 
There is no reference to Minuth. Probably 
the Min in this instance was a Persian, and 
a fire- worshipper. If so, 'Min' may re- 
present ' Mani.' 

(v) b. Meg. 23 a . — Jacob the Min asks a question 
of R. Jehudah. There is no reference to 
Minuth. Tosaphoth doubts whether Jacob 
was a Min at all. 

(vi) b. B. Bathra 25 a .— R. Shesheth would not turn 
to the east because the Minim teach con- 
cerning it. Here, as in No. (iv), Minim 


probably denotes fire-worshippers. It should 
be added, however, that Rashi believes the 
reference to be to ' the disciples of Jesus.' 

(vii) b. Sanh. 37 a .--R. Kahana answers the question 
of a Min concerning a woman who is ma. 
No reference to Minuth. 

(viii) M. Jad. iv. 8. — 'A Min of Galilee' said 
to the Pharisees, etc., see Geiger, Urschrift, 
p. 146 ; Schurer, G. d. J. V., ii. 318. The 
Min here is a political rather than a religious 
partisan. Probably a follower of Judah of 
Galilee is meant. The date of the passage 
is uncertain, probably not earlier than the 
codification of the Mishnah by Rabbi. 
Therefore it cannot be quoted as the earliest 
instance of the use of the term Min. The 
printed text of the Misnah reads Tzadduqi 
in place of Min; but the latter reading is 
shown by Schurer to be the right one. 

As the printed texts of the Talmud are subject to 
the censorship of the press, it is frequently the case 
that the word Min (Minim) is struck out and re- 
placed by Tzadduqi, Cuthi, Romi, or some other 
innocent word. This defect is found in most of the 
printed texts since the edition of Basle, 1578. The 
comparison of manuscripts, and early editions, as 
performed by Rabbinowicz, 1 has made it possible to 
correct these mischievous errors. A few passages 

1 The invaluable work of Rabbinowicz, entitled Diqduqe Sopherim, is 
unfortunately incomplete. It extends over perhaps three-fourths of the 
Talmud, including the most important of the treatises. 


remain, in which the reading Tzadduqi, or Cuthi, is 
the right one. I subjoin a list of references to such 
passages as I have met with where this is the case. 
There are probably others. My purpose, however, 
is not to collect references to the Sadducees, or to 
the Samaritans, but to give a list of the references 
to the Minim as complete as I can, and also as 
free as possible from the intrusion of what does not 
belong to it. 

In the following passages, the reading Tzadduqi is 
correct, and the reference is to the Sadducees. 

(A.) Mishnah (collected by Schiirer, op. cit., ii. 
317 fol.); Erubh. vi. 2 (uncertain); Mace. i. 6; 
Parah. iii. 7; Nidd. iv. 2; Jad. iv. 6, 7, 8. (B.) 
Talmud. Joma 19 b , 53 a ; B. Bathr. 115 b ; Mace. 5 b ; 
Nidd. 33 b . (C.) Tosephta ; Hagg. iii. 35. 

97. JacoB of Chephar Neburaia 

A passage has already been quoted (see above, 
p. 219) from the Midrash Qoh. r. (on vii. 26, 
p. 21 d ), in which it is stated that "R. Isi of 
Csesarea expounded this verse in reference to Minuth : 
The good is R. El'azar, the sinner is Jacob of Chephar 
Neburaia," etc., after which follows a list of five other 
examples of contrasted saints and sinners. There can 
be no possible doubt that the intention of R. Isi was 
to pronounce Jacob of Ch. N. a Min. It is therefore 
desirable to ascertain what may be known about this 
Jacob. I have not included him in the list of those 
Minim who had polemical discussions with Jews, 
because no such controversies are ascribed to him. 
Controversies he certainly had, but in the records 


of them he is not called a Min. Moreover, certain 
sayings of his are mentioned with approval, and the 
Babylonian Gemara does not seem to have any 
suspicion of his * Minuth.' I have therefore thought 
it best to deal with him in a separate section, and 
to put that as an appendix to the main body of 
evidence collected on the subject of Minuth. 

Jacob of Chephar Neburaia lived in the fourth 
century, and is most frequently mentioned in con- 
nexion with Tyre and Cassarea. The site of the 
village from which he took his name has not been 
identified. He 'targumed' Hagg. ii. 19, in the 
synagogue Maradta in Caesarea, and his exposition 
was approved by the Rabbis (j. Bice. iii. 3. 65*, b. 
Sanh. 7% and Midr. Samuel c. 7 (6) *). He expounded 
Ps. lxv. 2 at Tyre ; and his exposition is quoted in 
j. Ber. 12 d . In b. Meg. 18 a it is quoted, but is 
ascribed to R. Jehudah of Chephar Neburaia. This 
is the result of a confusion between Jacob of Ch. N. 
and R. Jehudah bar Nahmani, who had been inter- 
preter (pnn») of R. Shimon ben Laqish. 

Further, Jacob of Ch. N. was involved in con- 
troversy with R. Haggai of Tyre upon questions 
of halachah. Two instances of this are given, and 
appear together in several passages in the Rabbinical 
literature. The two halachic decisions which he gave 
were, first, that the son of a Gentile woman might be 
circumcised on the Sabbath; and second, that the 
rules relating to the killing of cattle for food applied 
also to fishes. For both these decisions he was called 
to account by R. Haggai, who ordered him on each 

1 This reference is given by Bacher, A. d. P. A., iii. 710, 3. I have not 
the means of verifying it. 


occasion to come and be scourged for having given a 
wrong decision. Jacob asked R. Haggai by what 
authority he scourged him? The Rabbi quoted 
texts to show that Jacob's teaching was wrong, after 
which Jacob lay down and submitted to be scourged. 
The first of these two incidents is described in j. 
Kidd. 64 d , j. Jebam. 4 a . The two together are found 
in Ber. r. vii. 2, Bamm. r. xix. 3, Pesiqta d. R. Kahana, 
§ Parah., 35 b , 36% Tanhuma, Huqqath, 56\ 57 a . 

In b. Kethub. 65 a a halachic decision by Jacob of 
Ch. N. is mentioned and debated, with no hint that 
any suspicion attached to him. In j. Shabb. 17 b 
there is the following : — Jacob of Chephar Neburaia 
asked R. Haggai, ' Is then a child that is born in 
the twilight circumcised in the twilight ? ' He said 
to him, * If thou and I were entering in at one door, 
perhaps we might be able to decide the point.' The 
meaning of this plainly is, that Jacob was no longer 
considered by the Rabbi to be in fellowship and thus 
open to conviction on Jewish principles. It is no- 
where said that Jacob was excommunicated, but it 
seems reasonable to infer that in some way he was 
excluded from the community of Israel and regarded 
as a heretic. His question to R. Haggai may in- 
dicate that he still regarded himself as being a 
member of the community. 

In the passage already mentioned, Qoh. r. vii. 28, 
21 d , he is charged with Minuth, in contrast with a 
certain El'azar otherwise unknown. 

The above passages contain, I believe, all that is 
known of Jacob of Chephar Neburaia. They are 
too scanty to be of much use, and for that reason I 
have not translated them. Scanty as they are, how- 


ever, they prove that Jacob of Ch. N. was a real 
person, and that he became a heretic. It is there- 
fore needless, and unwarranted, to say, as Friedlander 
says (Vorch. jud. Gnosticismus, p. 108), that in the 
list of contrasted saints and sinners, Qoh. r. vii. 26, 
Jacob of Ch. N. is plainly Jacob of Ch. Sechanja 
(see above, p. 221 n.) We may also perhaps infer 
that the distinction between Jew and Min was not 
regarded, from the side of the Minim, as being a 
very sharp one. Here may be compared the very 
curious story of R. Saphra and the Minim of Caesarea 
(see above, p. 266 fol.). There the Minim, strange as 
it seems, actually engaged a Jewish Rabbi to be their 
teacher. It is true he did not suit them ; but that 
was owing to his defective knowledge of Scripture, 
not to the fact of his being a Jew. Is it possible 
that Jacob of Ch. N. stood in some similiar relation 
towards the Minim, and that less staunch than R. 
Saphra, he was perverted by those to whom he 
ministered? That he did become a Min is shown 
not merely by the passage in Qoh. r., but also by 
that in j. Shabb. 17 b , where R. Haggai speaks of 
himself and Jacob as not entering at the same door. 
But it is worthy of note that his apostasy does not 
appear to have been known outside of his own 
country. He is mentioned in the Babylonian 
Gemara, Kethub. 65\ and an opinion given by him 
is debated without any reference to his being a Min. 
Further, if I am right in supposing that the passage 
j. Shabb. 17 b refers to a time after he had become a 
Min, then it would seem that he still kept up his 
interest in halachah. If so, he might be a Jewish 

Christian, but scarcely a Gnostic. There is, however, 



nothing to show what was the change which turned 
him from a Jew into a Min. He remains a shadowy 
figure, tantalising by its vagueness, the ghost of an 
ancient heretic. 

The Priesthood of Melchizedek 

(139) b. Nedar. 32 b . — R. Zechariah said, in the 
name of R. Ishmael, The Holy one, Blessed be 
He, sought to cause the priesthood to go forth 
from Shem. For it is said [Gen. xiv. 18], And 
he was priest of God Most High, As soon as 
he put the blessing of Abraham before the 
blessing of God, he caused it to go forth from 
Abraham, as it is said [ib. 19], And he blessed 
him and said, 'Blessed be Abraham of God 
Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, and 
blessed be God Most High' Abraham said to 
him, ■ Do they put the blessing of the servant 
before the blessing of his owner ? ' Immedi- 
ately it was given to Abraham, as it is said 
[Ps. ex. 1], The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit 
thou at my right hand until I make thy enemies 
the footstool for thy feet. And further down 
it is written [ib. 4], The Lord hath sworn, 
and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever 
after the order of Melchizedek, according to the 
saying of Melchizedek. And this is what is 
written [Gen. xiv. 18], And he was priest of 
God Most High. He was priest; his seed 
were not priests. 
Commentary. — The point of the above haggadah 
is that the priesthood was taken away from 


Melchizedek and given to Abraham. God, it is 
said, had at first intended that the priesthood should 
'go forth from Shem,' i.e. should be handed down 
along the line of his posterity. Melchizedek is here 
identified with Shem, as elsewhere in the Midrash. 
The divine purpose, however, was changed, and the 
priesthood was caused to descend in the line of 
Abraham. Tosaphoth points out that Abraham 
himself was one of the descendants of Shem, and 
gives the explanation that the priesthood was taken 
away from all the other descendants of Shem, and 
given to Abraham and his posterity. In any case 
it was taken away from Melchizedek. Now Mel- 
chizedek was the subject of a great deal of specu- 
lation in the early centuries of the common era. 
There was a Gnostic sect who called themselves 
after his name, regarding him as an incarnation of 
the divine power. Also, in the Epistle to the 
Hebrews, Melchizedek is represented as a type of 
Christ, and the comparison is worked out in detail 
[Heb. vii.]. Evidently the intention of R. Ishmael, 
in his haggadah, was to destroy the foundation for 
this exalted conception of Melchizedek, by showing 
that the priesthood was taken away from him. This 
R. Ishmael is the same whom we have already met 
with several times as an opponent of Minim. It was 
he who forbade the attempted cure of his nephew, 
Ben Damah, by a Min who was beyond question a 
Christian (see above, p. 103 fol.). It was he, also, 
who severely condemned the Scriptures of the Minim 
(see above, p. 156 fol.). He lived in Palestine at the 
end of the first, and well on into the second century. 
The depreciation of Melchizedek would serve as 


an argument against both the Gnostic sect and the 
Christian readers of the Epistle to the Hebrews ; but 
1 see no reason to restrict the reference to the first. 
The Melchizedekites do not appear to have been a 
very important or very aggressive sect, certainly not 
more prominent than the Jewish Christians. It has 
been suggested above (p. 265) that the doctrine of 
Two Powers in Heaven, ascribed to the Minim, is 
the Jewish version of the Christology of the Epistle 
to the Hebrews. I take the present passage to be 
additional evidence in support of the view that the 
teaching of that Epistle was known to the Rabbis, 
and that the Minim were, or at least included, Jewish 
Christians whose theology was represented in that 
Epistle. It should be noticed that R. Ishmael, as 
well as the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, 
made use of Ps. ex. 4 in support of his argument. The 
Rabbi interpreted the words >n-m by (Eng. version, 
After the order of), to mean according to the saying 
of Melchizedek. That is, Melchizedek himself, by 
what he had said, forfeited the priesthood so that it 
passed to Abraham. The citation of Ps. ex. may, 
however, be due not to the Rabbi's acquaintance with 
the Epistle to the Hebrews, but merely to the fact 
that Melchizedek is mentioned in the Psalm. That 
his argument does impugn the doctrine of the Epistle 
to the Hebrews there can be no question. 

This completes the series of passages in which I 
have found a reference to Christianity, in the person 
of its Founder or of his followers. That the whole 
material is exhausted I do not venture to affirm. 


The Rabbinical literature is enormous, and, moreover, 
has never been indexed, so that I dare not claim to 
have overlooked nothing. Nevertheless, I believe I 
have gathered all the important passages, and nearly 
all the less important ones. A few I have in- 
tentionally left out, which have been thought to 
have some polemical reference, but in which I could 
find no allusion, however remote, to Christianity. 
Also, I have omitted passages where a mere verbal 
likeness might be traced to some phrase in the New 
Testament. The subject of parallel passages did not 
come within the limits which I had marked out for 
my work. 

It remains now to collect the general results of the 
mass of evidence presented in the foregoing pages ; 
and to this task I shall devote the concluding section 
of this book. 



I have called this book by the title of " Christianity 
in Talmud and Midrash," and have offered to the 
reader a number of passages from the Rabbinical 
literature of the first four centuries containing what 
I believe to be references to Christianity, either in the 
person of its Founder, or of his followers. In doing 
so I have been unable to avoid giving provisional 
answers to questions which cannot be fully answered 
until all the evidence has been presented, and have 
thus, to some extent, taken for granted what ought 
to be proved. In this concluding section I shall try 
to complete my case by a general review of the evi- 
dence, and shall show first that Jesus is referred to in 
the Rabbinical literature ; and second, that the Minim, 
who are so often mentioned, are, or at all events 
include, Jewish Christians. Under the first head I 
shall, after proving as I hope that the historical Jesus 
of Nazareth is referred to, sum up the main heads of 
the traditions concerning him, and inquire into their 
origin and value. Under the second head I shall in 
like manner, after presenting the case for the Chris- 
tianity of the Minim, collect the evidence for their 



theology, their relation to Judaism, and whatever else 
may serve to give clearness and distinctness to the 
picture. The problem of the Minim has often been 
discussed, for it is one of the riddles of the Talmud. 
The solution of that problem attempted here may 
claim at least the merit of being based upon a larger 
body of evidence than has, so far as I know, ever 
been collected before. If the reader is dissatisfied 
with that solution, he has now before him the 
materials for a better. 



Jesus in the Talmud and Midrash 

Is the historical Jesus of Nazareth mentioned in the 
Rabbinical literature ? Or, to state the question 
somewhat differently, are the persons variously named 
Ben Stada, Ben Pandira, Jeshu', Jeshu ha-Notzri, one 
and the same individual, and he, Jesus of Nazareth ? 
The answer to this question is clearly given by a 
comparison of parallel passages. Thus : — 

(a) T. Sanh. x. 11 (see above, p. 79, No. (19)), " And 
thus they did to Ben Stada in Lud, .... and they 
brought him to the Beth Din and stoned him." 

(b) b. Sanh. 67 a (see above, p. 79, No. (21)), "And 
they bring him to the Beth Din and stone him ; and 
thus they did to Ben Stada in Lud, and they hung 
him on the eve of Pesah." 

(c) b. Sanh. 43 a (see above, p. 83, No. (22)), " On 
the eve of Pesah they hung Jeshu ha-Notzri." . . . 
" Jeshu ha-Notzri goeth forth to be stoned because he 
hath practised magic, tpo , and deceived and led astray 

(d) b. Shabb. 104 b (see above, p. 35, No. (1)), "And 
did not Ben Stada bring magic spells, d^sdd, from 



There can be no reasonable doubt that Ben Stada 
is here equivalent to Jeshu ha-Notzri. 1 Next, let us 
compare Ben Pandira with Jeshu ha-Notzri. We 

(e) T. Hull ii. 24 (see above, p. 138, No. (45)). R. 
Eliezer said, "Once I was walking in the street of 
Sepphoris ; I found Jacob of Chephar Sichnin, and he 
said a word of Minuth in the name of Jeshu ben 

if) b. A. Zar. 16 b , 17 a (see above, p. 138, No. (46)). 
It. Eliezer said, " Once I was walking in the upper street 
of Sepphoris, and I found a man, one of the disciples 
of Jeshu ha-Notzri, and Jacob of Chephar Sechanja 
was his name," . . . . " and he said to me, Thus hath 
Jeshu ha-Notzri taught me." 

The name Jeshu ben Pantiri in (e) is, on the same 

1 Note that the form Jeshu ben Stada does not occur. Ben Stada is 
clearly identified with Jeshu ha-Notzri ; but the possibility remains that 
originally they were not identical. R. Eliezer, who mentions Jeshu ben 
Pandira, mentions also Ben Stada, with no indication that the two names 
denote one person. I venture to suggest, as worth consideration, the hypo- 
thesis that Ben Stada originally denoted " that Egyptian " [Acts xxi. 38 : 
Josephus Antiqq., xx. 8, 6 ; B. J., ii. 13, 5], who gave himself out as a 
prophet, led a crowd of followers to the Mount of Olives, and was routed 
there by the Procurator Felix. This man is called a sorcerer ; at least he 
promised that the walls of Jerusalem "should fall at his approach. Now R. 
Eliezer said of Ben Stada that he brought magical spells from Egypt ; and 
the Rabbis, to whom he made this remark, replied that ' Ben Stada was a 
fool.' This verdict is more appropriate to the Jewish-Egyptian impostor 
than to the much more dangerous Jeshu ha-Notzri. In later times the 
two might easily be confused together. If there is anything in this 
suggestion, the name Stada, the pronunciation of which is guaranteed by 
the explanation 'Stath da,' might have some connexion with avda-raros, 
* seditious,' or at least with some cognate form from the root • sta.' It should 
be observed that R. Eliezer does not say that Ben Stada was put to death at 
Ltid, and that according to Josephus the Egyptian himself escaped. The 
execution of Ben Stada at Lud is the result of identifying Ben Stada with 
Jeshu ha-Notzri. 


page a few lines higher up, given in the form Jeshua 
ben Pandiri. The passages (e) and (f) clearly prove 
the identity of Jeshu ben Pandira with Jeshu ha- 

For the identification of Ben Stada with Ben 
Pandira, which indeed would logically follow from 
the passages given above, we have the explicit state- 

b. Shabb. 104 b (see above, p. 35, No. (1)), "Ben 
Stada is Ben Pandira." 

So far as the identification of the names is con- 
cerned the case is clear. Do these names denote the 
historical Jesus of Nazareth, the Founder of Chris- 
tianity ? The following passages supply the answer. 

{g) b. Sanh. 107 b (see above, p. 51, No. (7)). "Jeshu 
ha-Notzri practised magic and deceived and led astray 

(h) b. Sanh. 43 a (see above, p. 84, No. (22)), " It 
was different with Jeshu ha-Notzri, for he was near to 
the kingdom." 

(i) Ibid, (see above, p. 90), " Jeshu [ha-Notzri] had 
five disciples." 

(j) T. Hull. ii. 22, 23 (see above, p. 103, No. (28)), 
" There came in Jacob a man of Chephar Sama to 
cure him in the name of Jeshua ben Pandira." 

(k) j. A. Zar. 40 d , 41 a (see above, p. 104, No. (30)). 
" He said, We will speak to thee in the name of 
Jeshu ben Pandira." 

Taking all these passages together, we find that 
the person named in them was one who ' deceived 
and led astray Israel,' who was tried and executed for 
doing so, who had disciples, and in whose name those 
disciples performed, or sought to perform, cures of 


sick persons. Finally, since the person here named is 
called Jeshu ha-Notzri, the conclusion follows that he 
was either the historical Jesus of Nazareth, or else 
some otherwise totally unknown man of the same 
name and dwelling-place. There can be no question 
that the first of the two alternatives is the right 

This conclusion is arrived at strictly from the evi- 
dence as given above, and takes no account of the 
a priori probability that a man, so important in Jewish 
history as Jesus, would be mentioned in the Talmud. 
That probability certainly strengthens the conclusion. 
Yet it is remarkable how very little the Talmud does 
say about Jesus, although there be no longer any 
room for doubt that he is referred to. 

The conclusion here arrived at is sufficient to 
dispose of the arguments founded on chronological 
grounds, which are intended to show that there are 
in the Talmud two persons called Jesus, neither of 
whom is the historical Jesus of Nazareth. The earlier 
of these is the one mentioned in (7) above (p. 52 fol.) 
as the disciple, and therefore contemporary, of R. 
Jehoshua ben Perahjah, who lived a century before 
the Christian era. The second is the Ben Stada who 
was put to death at Lud, and who was supposed 
to be contemporary with R. Aqiba, a century after 
that era began. It is quite possible that the com- 
pilers of the Talmud were not aware of the identity 
of these two ; it is certain that chronology was not a 
science in which the Rabbis excelled, or one in which 
they laid stress upon accuracy. 

Having now established the fact that the historical 
Jesus of Nazareth is referred to in the Talmud and 


Midrash, I proceed to collect the scanty traditions 
therein contained, so as to show what was the extent 
of the Rabbinical knowledge or belief concerning him, 
and what were the probable sources of that knowledge. 

Jesus, called ha-Notzri, Ben Stada, or Ben Pandira, 
was born out of wedlock (p. 43). His mother was 
called Miriam [Mary], and was a dresser of women's 
hair (pp. 35, 41). Her husband was Pappus ben 
Jehudah (p. 35). Her paramour was Pandira (p. 35). 
She is also said to have been descended from princes 
and rulers, and to have played the harlot with a 
carpenter (p. 48). 

Jesus had been in Egypt and brought magic thence 
(pp. 35, 51). He was a magician (p. 51), and led 
astray and deceived Israel (ibid, and p. 83). He 
sinned and caused the multitude to sin (p. 51). He 
mocked at the words of the wise (ibid, and p. 68), and 
was excommunicated (p. 51). He was tainted with 
heresy (p. 57). 

[He] 1 called himself God, also the son of man, and 
said that he would go up to heaven (p. 62). [He] 1 
made himself to live by the name of God (p. 75). 

He was tried in Lud as a deceiver and as a teacher 
of apostasy (p. 79). Witnesses were concealed so as 
to hear his statements, and a lamp was lighted over 
him, that his face might be seen. He was brought to 
the Beth Din (p. 79). 

He was executed in Lud, on the eve of Pesah, 
which was also the eve of Sabbath (pp. 79, 88). He 
was stoned (p. 79) and hung (p. 80), or crucified (p. 87). 
A herald proclaimed that he was to be stoned, and 

1 Jesus is not mentioned by name, but is evidently referred to. See the 
commentary on the passage. 


invited evidence in his favour; but none was given 
(p. 83). 

He [under the name of Balaam] was put to death 
by Pinhas the robber [Pontius Pilatus] (p. 72), and at 
the time of his death was thirty-three years old (ibid.). 

He was punished in Gehinnom, by means of boil- 
ing filth (p. 68). 

He was a revolutionary (p. 83). He was near to 
the kingdom (p. 84). 

He had five disciples (p. 90). 

Under the name of Balaam he is excluded from the 
world to come (p. 65 fol.). 

In the foregoing paragraphs we have, I believe, 
all that refers to Jesus in the Rabbinical literature of 
the first four centuries. The reasons for asserting the 
fact of this reference will be found in the commentary 
on the several passages. 

It is remarkable that no mention is made of the 
alleged Messiahship of Jesus, even as a reason for 
putting him to death. 

What are the sources of this tradition concerning 
Jesus ? And, especially, do they imply a knowledge 
of the contents of a Gospel or Gospels ? First let us 
investigate the authorities for the tradition, i.e. the 
various Rabbis who made the statements containing 
it, as presented in the passages successively translated 
in the earlier pages of this book. 

It has been explained in the Introduction that the 
Talmud consists of two parts, Mishnah and Gemara, 
related to each other as text and commentary. The 
close of the Mishnah is usually dated at about a.d. 
220. The Palestinian Gemara covers the period 
from the close of the Mishnah down to the middle 


or end of the fourth century ; while the Babylonian 
Gemara was not completed till the end of the fifth, 
or possibly even the beginning of the sixth, century. 
Both the Gemaras, however, contain a great deal of 
material handed down from the period covered by 
the Mishnah. These two main periods, represented 
by the Mishnah and Gemaras, are known as the 
period of the Tannaim and of the Amoraim respec- 
tively. To the earlier period belong, not only the 
Mishnah, but the Tosephta, and the chiefly halachic 
Midrashim, Siphri, Siphra and Mechilta. There are 
no works holding a quite similar position in relation 
to the Gemaras ; but while such Midrashim as 
Pesiqta, Pesiqta Rabbathi, Midrash Rabbah, are for 
the most part of much later date, even extending 
down to the eleventh or twelfth century, they also 
contain traditions from the period of the Amoraim 
and even of the Tannaim. The closing of the 
Mishnah thus marks a division in the Rabbinical 
literature which is of great importance. Many 
traditions recorded in the Amoraite collections may 
date from very early times. But traditions recorded 
in works of the Tannaite period have an additional 
warrant of authenticity. 

Of the traditions concerning Jesus, the following are 
contained in the literature of the Tannaite period : — 

(A.) Mishnah : [Jesus] born out of wedlock (p. 43). 
Balaam [Jesus] excluded from the world to 
come (p. 65). 

(B.) Tosephta: Ben Stada [Jesus] a magician (p. 54). 
[Jesus] crucified (p. 87). 

Healing in the name of Jeshu ben Pandira 
(p. 103). 


A word of heresy in the name of Jeshu ben 

Pantiri (p. 138). 
Ben Stada [Jesus] tried at Lud (p. 79). 
(C.) Baraithas (i.e. traditions of the Tannaite period, 
and distinguished as such in the Gemaras) : 
Ben Stada [Jesus] brought magic from Egypt 

(p. 35). 
Ben Stada tried and hung at Lud on the eve 

of Pesah (p. 80). 
A herald announced that Jeshu ha-Notzri was 
to be stoned, and invited evidence in his 
favour ; but none was given. He was hung 
on the eve of Pesah [and eve of Sabbath] 
(p. 83). 
Jeshu had five disciples (p. 90). 
The remaining traditions are found in the Gemaras, 
and to a very small extent in the later Midrashim. 

Considering, for the present, the traditions of the 
Tannaite period, it will be noticed that the Mishnah 
does not contain the names Jeshu, or Ben Stada, or 
Ben Pandira. Tosephta contains all three, but not 
the form Jeshu ha-Notzri. Neither Siphri, Siphra, nor 
Mechilta contain, so far as I know, any allusion to 
Jesus. Tosephta further contains a covert reference 
to Jesus in certain questions put to, and answered by, 
R. Eliezer ben Horqenos (p. 46). These scarcely add 
any details to the tradition, because they are so obscure 
that their meaning is very uncertain. But they help 
to carry back the Tradition to an early date ; and not 
only so, but they lend additional probability to the 
suggestion that the Tradition concerning Jesus really 
started with the aforesaid R. Eliezer. It was he who 
referred to Ben Stada as a magician, and said that 


he brought magic from Egypt (p. 35). It was he, 
also, who said that he had conversed with a disciple 
of Jeshu ben Pandira, who had repeated a saying 
which the latter had taught him. And the reader 
will be reminded in the following chapter that this 
same R. Eliezer was arrested on a charge of Minuth, 
which he ascribed to his intercourse with the disciple 
of Jesus just referred to ; also, that he was the author 
of two interpretations of texts bearing upon Minuth, 
which were often appealed to by later Rabbis. Now 
R. Eliezer was the disciple of R. Johanan ben Zaccai ; 
and the latter must certainly have seen and heard 
Jesus ; for he died, an old man, before a.d. 80, and his 
life was mainly spent in Jerusalem. We may, there- 
fore, take it as probable that R. Eliezer was the chief 
original authority for the Tradition about Jesus ; and, 
if this be so, then it becomes easier to understand 
why the series of questions (p. 46) referring to ' a 
certain person' should have been addressed to R. 
Eliezer. The answers to these questions show a 
reluctance to speak openly of the person concerned, 
and a similar reluctance may be discerned in the 
Mishnah, which, as we have seen, does not mention 
Jesus by name. 

If the Tradition concerning Jesus began with R. 
Eliezer, we may with much probability assign the 
next stage in its development to R. Aqiba. It is 
true that no recorded saying of his mentions Jesus. 
But R. Aqiba was a disciple of R. Eliezer ; and not 
only so, but when R. Eliezer was grieving over his 
having been arrested on the charge of Minuth (p. 
137), R. Aqiba said to him (ibid.), "Rabbi, suffer me 
to say something of what thou hast taught me. . . . 


Perhaps there has come Minuth into thy hand and 
it has pleased thee." Evidently R. Eliezer had told 
R. Aqiba something about Minuth, and more par- 
ticularly about his encounter with Jacob the disciple 
of Jeshu ha-Notzri. It is further to be observed that 
Shimon ben Azai, who discovered in Jerusalem the 
book of pedigrees (p. 43), was the intimate associate 
of R. Aqiba. Another disciple of R. Aqiba was 
R. Meir, who told the parable about the crucified 
King (p. 86). 

Thus we have a well-marked line of descent of 
the Tradition concerning Jesus, coming down virtually 
to the end of the Tannaite period ; for the Mishnah 
is chiefly based upon the work of R. Aqiba and 
R. Meir. 

With this line of descent may be connected the 
remaining references to Jesus in the Tannaite period. 
R. Gamliel, who uttered the famous gibe against the 
Christian judge (p. 147), " The ass has come and 
trodden out the lamp," was the brother-in-law of R. 
Eliezer. And, although this story is not found in the 
Tannaite literature, but in that of the Amoraite period, 
it dates, if genuine, from the first century. R. Gamliel 
was the grandfather of R. Jehudah ha-Qadosh, who 
completed the Mishnah. Thus we have another 
line of descent from R. Eliezer down to Rabbi, who 
in his turn was the source from which nearly all the 
Amoraite tradition was derived. 

Having now examined the Tradition concerning 
Jesus as contained in the Tannaite literature, I pro- 
ceed to investigate that Tradition in the Gemaras. 
The Tradition at once divides into a Palestinian and 

a Babylonian form. At the head of each line stands 



a disciple of Rabbi. The Palestinian Tradition comes 
for the most part through R. Johanan, directly or 
indirectly. The Babylonian Tradition was begun by 
Rab, who founded the school at Sura. 

The Palestinian Tradition, in the Amoraite period, 
adds extremely little that is new concerning Jesus. 
R. Abahu, a disciple of R. Johanan, uttered the 
famous saying (p. 62), " If a man say, ' I am God,' 
he is a liar," etc. A saying by a Rabbi of uncertain 
date, Reuben, is also recorded, " God has no son," 
etc. (p. 302). Beyond these, we have only repeti- 
tions of the earlier statements about Ben Stada, and 
healing in the name of Jeshu ben Pandira. A second 
instance of the latter is recorded in connexion with 
R. Jehoshua ben Levi, a contemporary of R. Johanan 
(p. 108). But, on the whole, it would seem as if 
the Palestinian Rabbis, in the Amoraite period, 
ceased to take any interest in the Tradition concern- 
ing Jesus. We shall see, however, that this is not 
the case in regard to the development of the Christian 

When we turn to the Babylonian Gemara, we 
find several additions to the Tradition concerning 
Jesus. And we are clearly right in placing R. 
Hisda next after his teacher Rab in the line of 
descent. It was R. Hisda who tried to explain the 
relation of Jesus to Stada and Pandira (p. 35). His 
explanation was wrong as regards the first, but right 
as regards the second. Also it was R. Hisda who 
quoted from R. Jeremiah bar Abba the saying that 
"Jeshu ha-Notzri burned his food in public" (p. 56). 
We shall see, in the next chapter, that R. Hisda 
uttered several sayings about Minuth. 


The explanatory note concerning Ben Stada 
(p. 35) suggests another stage in the line of descent. 
R. Hisda's theory that Stada was the husband in the 
case is rejected, and the explanation is given, "the 
husband was Pappus ben Jehudah, the mother was 
Stada. The mother was Miriam, the dresser of 
women's hair, as we say in Pumbeditha, such a one 
hath gone aside from her husband." Evidently this 
tradition comes from Pumbeditha ; and the college 
at this place was founded by R. Jehudah ben Jehezq'el, 
a disciple of Rab and contemporary with R. Hisda. 
The successor of R. Jehudah was R. Joseph bar 
Hija. Now this R. Joseph vouches for the story 
about Miriam, the dresser of women's hair, told by 
R. Bibi bar Abaji, his son-in-law (p. 41). I suggest 
that the remark above, " as we say in Pumbeditha," 
points to R. Joseph as the author of the explanation 
that Stada was the mother, and that while her real name 
was Miriam, the dresser of women's hair, Stada was 
a nickname derived from her unfaithfulness to her 
husband. The explanation of the name Stada may 
possibly be original to R. Joseph ; but the name 
* Miriam, the dresser of women's hair,' — Miriam 
megaddela nashaia — clearly is traditional, since it 
represents the name ' Miriam magdalaah,' i.e. Mary 
Magdalene. The line of tradition here accordingly 
is, Rabbi, Rab, R. Jehudah, R. Joseph. 

Another addition is the statement of Ulla that 
Jesus was a revolutionary and that he was * near to 
the kingdom ' (p. 83). Ulla was a Palestinian Rabbi, 
a disciple of R. Johanan ; but he removed to Baby- 
lonia, where he was closely associated with R. 
Jehudah and with R. Hisda. It is possible that the 


Jesus-Tradition may have reached the two Babylonian 
teachers through Ulla, not through Rab. 

A further trace of the descent of the Jesus-Tradi- 
tion is to be seen in the saying of R. Papa (p. 47), 
" She, who was descended from princes and rulers, 
played the harlot with a carpenter." R. Papa re- 
ceived some of his teaching from Abaji, the disciple of 
R. Joseph of Pumbeditha, already mentioned. The 
remaining steps of the general Talmudic tradition, 
including, of course, that relating to Jesus, are 
R. Papa, R. Kahana, R. Ashi, the last being the 
redactor of the Babylonian Gemara. 

What remains of the Jesus-Tradition in the Gemara 
is anonymous. Such are, the story of Jeshu ha- 
Notzri and his excommunication by R. Jehoshua ben 
Perahjah (p. 50) ; the story of Balaam and Jesus in 
Hell (p. 67) ; the age of Balaam (p. 72). The story 
about the birth of Jesus (p. 48) is also anonymous, 
and later than the Gemara. 

Outside the Gemara, very few references to Jesus 
in the Amoraite period are found. R. Hija bar Abba 
refers to the " son of the harlot " (p. 804) in Pesiqta r. 
This Rabbi was contemporary with R. Johanan. R. 
Abahu, another disciple of R. Johanan, uttered a 
parable on the subject, 'God has no son' (p. 303). 
But these add nothing new to the Jesus-Tradition. 

We have traced, so far as the evidence allows, the 
line of descent of the Jesus-Tradition during the 
period covered by the Mishnah and the Gemaras. 
The question remains, What were the sources of this 
Tradition? Did the Rabbis, who made the several 
statements concerning Jesus, base their assertions 
upon oral information, derived ultimately from actual 


recollection of the career of Jesus ? Or did they, to 
any extent, obtain their knowledge from acquaintance 
with the written Gospel, in any of its forms ? The 
latter question belongs partly to the following chapter, 
where the ' Books of the Minim ' will be discussed ; 
but it cannot be wholly omitted here. 

If the summary of the Jesus-Tradition, given above 
(pp. 348-9) be examined, it will be found to contain 
little, if anything, which would imply the knowledge 
of a Gospel, or Gospels, on the part of the Rabbis. 
The general outline of the Tradition is sufficiently 
like the outline of the story in the Gospels to show 
that the same person is referred to ; but the differences 
are hard to explain, if a knowledge of the Gospels be 
assumed. And since the Gospels themselves rest 
upon an oral tradition, it is more natural to suppose 
that some of that Christian tradition may have been 
known and repeated in Jewish circles than that the 
Rabbis should have read the written record of that 
tradition. In the beginning, the Jesus-Tradition was 
propagated by Jews amongst Jews ; and while it was 
carefully preserved amongst the disciples of Jesus, 
it would not be wholly forgotten amongst those who 
were hostile to him, though there would be no induce- 
ment to them to remember it with accuracy. This 
applies to that part of the Tradition which related 
to the birth and parentage of Jesus. Of his public 
career, and of his trial and death, there would naturally 
be an independent Jewish tradition, however vague 
and defective it might be. 

In regard to the birth and parentage of Jesus, 
the earliest tradition (p. 43) merely indicates that he 
was born out of wedlock. This is, obviously, only a 


coarse interpretation of the statement in the Christian 
tradition that Jesus was not the son of his mother's 
husband. There is a trace of this view of the origin 
of Jesus in the questions to R. Eliezer (p. 45), 
" What of a ' Mamzer ' (bastard) as to his inheriting ? " 
Whether the name of * Miriam megaddela' (Mary 
Magdalene), as that of the mother of Jesus, passed 
into the Jewish tradition at this early stage I do not 
know. I am inclined to think that it did ; for, 
although it does not appear till the time of R. Joseph 
(p. 355), in the fourth century, yet he cannot have 
derived it from a Gospel, since the same Gospel 
which recorded the name would have shown that 
Mary of Magdala was not the mother of Jesus. If 
this be allowed, then the further detail, that the 
mother of Jesus mated with a carpenter (p. 47), may 
be explained in the same way, i.e. as an early tradition 
not recorded till a late date. The earliest tradition 
knows the name Ben Pandira as an epithet of Jesus ; 
but the explanation that Pandira was the name of the 
paramour of the mother of Jesus is not given till the 
time of R. Hisda (p. 354), in the third century. It is 
at least possible that the name Pandira, whatever it 
may have meant, was not originally intended to de- 
note the father of Jesus, and that Ben Pandira was 
a descriptive epithet, like the name Boanerges, ' sons 
of thunder,' applied to James and John [Mark iii. 17]. 
In any case, the ascription to Jesus of the name Ben 
Pandira does not imply any acquaintance with a 

In regard to the tradition of the public career of 
Jesus, such acquaintance with a Gospel is even less 
to be assumed. The scanty and imperfect notices of 


the ministry and the death of Jesus, contained in the 
Rabbinical literature, are only what one would ex- 
pect in reference to a person whose deeds and whose 
fate were of no immediate importance to the Rabbis, 
and whom they knew only as a renegade Jew, a 
troubler of Israel in former times. I think it is a 
mistake to suppose that the Rabbis took much 
interest in Jesus, or cared to know much about him. 
And for the mere fragments of tradition which, in 
connexion with legal questions, they recorded about 
him, no other foundation need be looked for than 
such oral communication as might have been made 
by those who saw him ; communications not intended 
as explicit teaching, but merely as casual remarks in 
conversation. In this way most if not all of the 
tradition concerning the public life and the execution 
of Jesus may be reasonably accounted for. The 
statements about Jesus in Hell (p. 67), and of his 
* burning his food ' (p. 56), and of his exclusion from 
the world to come (p. 65), are not to be regarded as 
parts of the tradition concerning him, but merely as 
haggadic inventions, based on the subject-matter of 
the tradition. 

As to the historical value of the Jesus-Tradition in 
the Rabbinical literature, little need be said. It will 
have become evident, both from the consideration of 
the several passages in the earlier part of the book 
and from the analysis of them just made, that they 
add nothing new to the authentic history of Jesus, as 
contained in the Gospels. In general, though not in 
detail, they serve to confirm the Christian tradition, 
by giving independent, and indeed hostile, evidence 
that Jesus of Nazareth really existed, a fact which 


has by some been called in question. But if, beyond 
this, the Rabbinical Jesus-Tradition has no value for 
the history of Christianity, it does throw some light 
upon the attitude of Judaism, as represented by the 
Rabbis, towards Jesus. It shows how the violent 
hostility directed against him during his life left only 
the vague and careless memory of a deceiver and an 
apostate. Of the great personality of Jesus not a 
trace remains, no sign of recognition that the ' Sinner 
of Israel ' had been a mighty man. His birth, which 
Christian devotion had transfigured into a miracle, 
Jewish contempt blackened into a disgrace ; and 
his death, which has been made the central point 
of Christian theology, was dismissed as the mere 
execution of a pernicious criminal. Judaism went on 
its way, but little troubled in mind at the thought of 
the man whom it had cast out. And this is natural, 
because Rabbinical Judaism was in some respects so 
fundamentally different from the religion of Jesus 
that no real recognition of him, or assimilation of his 
teaching, was possible. This is by no means to say 
that Judaism stands condemned by its rejection of 
Jesus. It is merely to say that Rabbinical Judaism 
and the religion of Jesus stand at opposite poles of 
religious thought; they are mutually exclusive, but 
have equal right to exist ; and each is proved, by the 
witness of history during nineteen centuries, to be 
capable of all the functions of a living religion. 


The Minim 

In this final chapter I shall try to collect the 
general results to be obtained from the mass of 
evidence already presented, in the hope of being able 
to answer the questions, Who were the Minim? 
Why were they so called ? What relation did they 
bear to the Gnostics? What is their place in the 
history of the Christian Church? In answering 
these questions, some repetition is unavoidable of 
what has been said in the earlier parts of this book, 
in relation to separate passages. In like manner, it 
was not practicable there to avoid provisional con- 
clusions upon some points which can only be fully 
dealt with when the whole of the material has been 
collected. The very title of the book, Christianity 
in Talmud and Midrash, contains such a provisional 
conclusion, so far, at all events, as relates to the identi- 
fication of the Minim with Christians. I wished the 
title to indicate the final result obtained (if my argu- 
ments are sound) from the evidence presented, not 
the process by which it was obtained. I trust I have 
sufficiently guarded myself against the charge of 
having begged the question that I set out to answer. 



I proceed now to deal with the several problems 
already indicated which are suggested by the study 
of the Minim. 

§. i. The Name Min (Minim, Minuth) 

The word Min (po), as the term applied to a 
heretic, is derived by Levy (N. H. W., hi. 104 a ) from 
an Arabic root, ' man/ meaning to lie, speak falsely. 
He also compares the Syriac, 'mania,' 'madness.' 
The Syriac word, however, is plainly borrowed from 
the Greek fMavia, and throws no light upon the Hebrew 
word. I have no knowledge of Arabic ; and if it be 
really necessary to go to that language for the ety- 
mology of the word j»d, I cannot criticise Levy's 
hypothesis. But I suggest that it is not necessary 
to go beyond the limits of Hebrew, or, at all events, 
Aramaic. Levy's explanation implies a similarity in 
form and sound between two words derived from 
different roots. I would rather explain the word po, 
denoting heretic, as a special use of the ordinary and 
familiar word po, denoting ' sort ' or ' kind.' 

po occurs frequently in the O.T., always in the 
adverbial phrase wo 1 ?, Gen. i. 2, or the cognate forms ; 
here its meaning is ' kind,' ' species,' ' sort.' There is 
also found in the O.T. another word meaning ' kind,' 
' species,' viz. : — the word ft (zan). It is found, Ps. 
cxliv. 13 and 2. Chron xvi. 14. It is the same as 
the Aramaic word *u?, which is used in the Targum 
to translate the word }^d . Thus, in Gen. i. 2, wnb is 
rendered rrofo 

Now there is also in Hebrew the word rut (Aram. 
ri?), which means ' to commit fornication ' ; and 


although the word \i, just mentioned, is probably 
from the root pt, it was believed to be connected 
with the root rut, as is shown by the punctuation, 
n>;\ not D% 2 Chron. xvi. 14. A curious illustration 
of this supposed connexion is found in the Talmud, 
b. B. Qamma 16 b , in a comment upon the verse in 
2 Chron. The passage is as follows : — TPW mpm jnuain 

trm n^ &o jna nnon W OW3 tok s :£ru in (In place of 
hot, the Aruch has ma, which is probably the correct 
reading, as it undoubtedly expresses the correct 
meaning. ) 

Translation. — They buried him in a bed that was 

filled with spices and ■ z'nim" What are spices and 

z'nim ? R. El'azar said, ' Different kinds [of spices]/ 

R. Shemuel bar Nahmani said, ' Spices such that he 

who smelt them was tempted to fornication.' 

We have then the word |t, supposed to be con- 
nected with n:r ; and |i is equivalent to \^. A 
further step in the argument is that, according to 
the well-known symbolism of the O.T., unfaithful- 
ness towards the covenant-relation with the God of 
Israel was represented under the figure of conjugal 
infidelity. The word rut is used both in the literal 
and in the figurative sense of ' being unfaithful.' 
This usage is frequent in the O.T. ; in the Talmud 
the literal meaning is much more common. I 
suggest that as pe = ;t = * kind,' ' species,' * sort,' the 
association of |t with put led to an extension of the 
meaning of yn in the same direction ; and that 
whereas n:i in the Talmud usually denotes literal 
unfaithfulness, pe referred almost exclusively to 
figurative unfaithfulness, i.e. some form of apostasy 


from the national religion. That is unquestion- 
ably the connotation of pb, whatever the denota- 
tion may be. The theory worked out here is based 
on the suggestion of Friedmann in his note to 
Pesiqta 101 a , quoted above, p. 304. If it is correct, 
then it explains why, in several of the passages which 
have been examined in the earlier part of the book, 
there is a secondary reference to fornication in the 
mention of the Minim and of Minuth. The inter- 
pretation of Prov. v. 8, Keep thy way far from her, 
and of Ecc. vii. 26, the woman whose heart is snares 
and nets, in reference to Minuth, lies ready to hand, 
if Minuth be spiritual unfaithfulness ; while, on the 
other hand, the way is open for the suggestion that 
Minuth led to actual immorality. This appears 
plainly in the story of R. Jonathan and the Minim 
(see above, p. 215). Further, this explanation of the 
term Min is in close agreement with the fact that 
those to whom the name was applied were of Jewish 
origin. None but a Jew could be guilty of unfaith- 
fulness towards the covenant-relation between God 
and Israel. Hence, if the above etymology be 
correct, a Min must be an unfaithful Jew ; and, in 
examining the various instances where the term is 
used, we have found that in almost every case the 
Jewish origin of the Minim is either implied or not 
contradicted. In a few instances the term appears to 
be applied to Gentiles, in the sense of 'enemies of 
Judaism' (see above, pp. 248-9, and elsewhere). 

Finally, if the explanation here given be correct, it 
accounts for the fact that the word po in the Talmud 
is often used in its common and original meaning of 
1 sort ' or * kind ' (see above, p. 161). 


Other suggested derivations of the word are — 

1st. That it is contracted from p&Mp, a ' believer,' and 
denotes a ' believer in the doctrine of Two Powers.' 
This is to give to the word * believer ' a specialised 
meaning which is without warrant. No doubt the 
Minim did hold this particular belief; but that is no 
reason for calling them ' believers ' par excellence. If 
the idea of 'belief is introduced at all into the 
meaning of the word, then there would be more reason 
for approving the explanation that, 

2nd. The word po is composed of the initial letters 
of n¥ti iK" i^dkd , i.e. ' believer [in] Jesus the Nazarene.' 
This is ingenious, but nothing more. 

3rd. The derivation from the name Manes, the 
founder of the Manichaean system, is merely a guess 
based on some resemblance in form, and some sup- 
posed resemblance between the tenets of the 
Manichaeans and those of the Minim. How the form 
Min is to be derived from Manes is not explained. 

4th. A better derivation is that from the root |*q, 
to deny, cp. wi from Bwn. This alone has any pre- 
tension to etymological soundness ; and I only reject it 
because the derivation given above seems to me to be 
etymologically no less sound, and more in accordance 
with the usage of the word, as shown in the various 
passages considered above. 

§ ii. Who were the Minim 

We have seen that the term 'Min' denotes an 
unfaithful Jew, one who was not loyal at heart to the 
principles of the Jewish religion, and who either in 
thought, word, or deed was false to the covenant 


between God and Israel. We have now to inquire 
whether the term was applied to all Jews tainted with 
heresy, or whether it was restricted to the adherents 
of one particular heresy and, if so, which heresy ? 

A passage has been given above (see p. 118 fol.) in 
which a severe censure is passed upon four classes of 
offenders, Minim, Meshummadim ( apostates ) , Masoroth 
(betrayers), and Epiqurosin (T. Sanh. xiii. 4, 5). If 
Minim were a general term for all unfaithful Jews, 
there would have been no need of four descriptive 
names. And the construction of the sentence forbids 
us to assume that Minim is the genus, of which 
Meshummadim, Masoroth, and Epiqurosin are the 
species. All four seem to be placed on the same 
footing. The distinction between their several 
meanings seems to be as follows : — ' Masoroth ' denotes 
' delators,' political betrayers. ' Epiqurosin ' are free- 
thinkers, whether Jewish or Gentile. 'Meshum- 
madim ' are those who wilfully transgress some part 
of the ceremonial law, and thereby proclaim their 
apostasy from the Jewish religion. The Minim are 
( those who are false at heart, but who do not 
necessarily proclaim their apostasy. They are the 
more dangerous because more secret. They do not 
withdraw from the community of Israel, but have to 
be cast out. This is the end to be attained by the 
various devices for the detection of Minim, which we 
have met with in passages cited from the Talmud and 
Midrash. These are, the Formula against the Minim 
(p. 125 fol.), and the references to liturgical and ritual 
variations (pp. 199, 204). We do not find any such 
precautions taken against Meshummadim, Masoroth 
or even Epiqurosin. The result of such a policy of 


exclusion would be that the Minim would form 
communities of their own, and thus hold a position 
of independence as regards Jews ; but the possibility 
would always remain that Minim might be found in 
the Jewish synagogues. Hence, the Talmud speaks 
of the Minim as a definite and distinct body or sect, 
'the Minim said, or did so-and-so.' And, in the 
curious story about R. Saphra (p. 266 fol.), it clearly 
appears that the Minim had a separate organisation 
of their own, while at the same time they regarded 
themselves as being so little different from Jews that 
they could ask for, and obtain, a Jewish Rabbi of 
unimpeachable orthodoxy to be their teacher. 

The Minim, then, are unfaithful Jews condemned 
as such, but not admitting themselves to be such. 
Therefore the name applied to them was a term of 
abuse, not merely a descriptive epithet such as 
' apostate,' ' betrayer,' or * freethinker.' A Min 
might be an apostate, or a betrayer, and could hardly 
fail to be a freethinker ; but the real nature of his 
offence was rather that of a moral taint than an intel- 
lectual perversity. This is shown by the interpreta- 
tion of Num. xv. 39, Ye shall not walk after your 
heart ; as a definition of Minuth (see p. 195 fol.). This 
is to find in the prompting of selfish passion and lust, 
and not in the dictates of reason, the ground of 
departure from the true way in religion prescribed 
by authority. And it should be observed that this 
interpretation, which is contained in Siphri, § 115, 
p. 35\ is the earliest indication of the meaning of the 
term Min. It is in close accordance with the ety- 
mology of the word, as already explained. 

The question who were the persons called Minim 


practically resolves itself into the choice between 
Jewish Gnostics and Jewish Christians. That they 
were Jews is beyond dispute. A Gentile is never 
called a Min, unless in one or two instances through 
ignorance or inadvertence (pp. 249, 332). A Gnostic 
might, of course, be or claim to be a Christian, and 
therefore the terms are not strictly exclusive ; but the 
Jewish Christian, generally speaking, was sufficiently 
distinct from the Gnostic to make it possible, and 
therefore necessary, to ascertain whether the Minim 
are to be identified with the first or the second. To 
the discussion of this important question I now pro- 
ceed, and I shall examine first the arguments in 
favour of the theory that the Minim are Gnostics. 

The latest advocate of this view is Friedlander, in 
the work already several times referred to, JDer vor- 
christliche jiidische Gnosticismus. The conclusion 
reached in this book is the definite statement (p. 68) 
that the Minim are Gnostics of the Ophite sect, one 
branch of which sect were further known as Cainites. 
Friedlander rejects the theory commonly held, that 
the Minim are Jewish Christians, as being based upon 
a merely superficial study of the Rabbinical literature, 
and fortifies his own theory with abundant citations. 
With the first half of his work, in which he illustrates 
the subject of Gnosticism from Philo and the early 
Christian Fathers, I have nothing to do. For any- 
thing I know, his statements may be accurate, and 
his conclusions sound. In the second portion he 
deals with the evidences of Gnosticism in the 
Rabbinical literature, and sets up his proof of the 
identification of the Minim with the Gnostics. 

The most ancient Gnosticism, he says, was con- 


cerned with the two main topics of Cosmology and 
Theosophy ; and he has no difficulty in showing that 
such speculation was well known amongst the Rabbis 
of the first and second centuries. They referred to it 
under the names of ' Maaseh Bereshith ' and ■ Maaseh 
Mercabah,' i.e. ' The Work of Creation,' and < The 
Work of the Chariot,' the latter name being an 
allusion to the vision of Ezekiel. The study of these 
subjects is mentioned in the Mishnah, and the restric- 
tions named under which alone it might be pursued. 
The text of the Mishnah and of the Gemara upon it 
are to be found in b. Hag. ll b , certainly a most 
instructive passage for the study of Jewish Gnosti- 
cism. Further, he describes the well-known case of 
Ben Zoma, a proficient in such studies, who appears 
to have lost his reason in consequence. He quotes 
from the Talmud a saying by R. El'azar of Mod'in 
[Aboth. iii. 15], " He who profanes the Sabbaths, and 
despises the set feasts, and makes void the covenant 
of Abraham our father, and gives interpretations of 
the Torah which are not according to the halachah, 
even though he have Torah and good works, he has 
no portion in the world to come." Then he says 
(p. 68), "When we look closer at this antinomian 
Gnosticism, as it filled Palestine with its noise in the 
time of Jesus, we are struck at the first glance by 
its relationship to Ophitism. If we examine more 
thoroughly the Talmudic passages bearing on the 
subject, we soon come to the conclusion that the 
heretics so often opposed by the Rabbis, the so-called 
Minim, belonged to the Ophite sect." That Fried- 
lander is right in concluding that Gnosticism is 
referred to in the passages about the ■ Chariot ' and 



* Creation,' in the story of Ben Zoma, and the saying 
of It. El'azar of Mod'in, is probable enough. But if 
the Minim are the Gnostics in question, it is at least 
remarkable that the term Min is never used in con- 
nexion with those persons who are said to have 
pursued such studies. The long passage, b. Hag. 
ll b fol., which may be called the locus classicus for 
Gnosticism in the Talmud, makes no reference to 
Minim or Minuth. 1 Ben Zoma is never called a 
Min, or even said to have been in danger of becoming 
one. Ben Azai, who was another great student of 
theosophy, is in like manner never even remotely 
associated with Minuth ; in fact, as we have seen 
above (p. 297), he was the author of a haggadah 
directed against the Minim. And, most striking of 
all, the arch-Gnostic of the Talmud, Elisha ben 
Abujah, known by the nickname of Aher, is never 
once called a Min. In the case of Ben Zoma and 
Ben Azai, their orthodoxy was never disputed ; but 
Elisha ben Abujah did become an outcast from the 
community of Judaism, and if Min was the proper 
term to apply to him, as a Gnostic, it must surely 
have been once at least applied to him. The most 
that is said of him is that he used to read books of 
Minuth. And if it be said that this at once proves 
him to have been a Min, the answer is that he also 
read his Bible without on that account being an 
orthodox Jew. In any case the fact remains that 
he is nowhere in so many words said to have been a 
Min. When, therefore, Friedlander says that " Acher 
was the Min /car' Ifox^V (p. 110), the phrase is his 
own, not that of the Talmud. 

1 Except the statement that Elisha b. Abujah read books of Minuth. 


Having then stated his thesis that the Minim are 
Gnostics, Friedlander proceeds to support it by citing 
passages where Minim are referred to ; all of which 
he makes use being included in the collection we 
have already examined. On p. 71 fol. he gives the 
story of R. Eliezer who was arrested for Minuth (see 
above, p. 137 fol.). Then he says (p. 74), "We 
would ask, What is there in this passage which in the 
remotest degree points to Christianity ? Nothing ; 
absolutely nothing. Rather the other way. If our 
Talmudists had been able to read the Talmud with 
less conceit and more impartiality, they would never 
have made the mistake of imagining Christianity in 
this and similar passages." No one would guess 
from the foregoing extract that in the text of the 
Talmud, as Friedlander must have had it before him, 
the Min says to the Rabbi, nvun w *wch P, " thus hath 
Jesus the Nazarene taught me." Friedlander has no 
right to find fault with the treatment of the Talmud 
by other scholars when he himself can be guilty of 
such an omission. To have given the passage in 
full would have damaged his theory, but it would 
have been more honest. Unfortunately, most of his 
readers will not be in a position to verify his refer- 
ences. The result of this correction is to show that, 
whatever Minuth may be, a notorious Min was, on 
his own showing, a Christian disciple. This fact 
does much to weaken the force of the arguments 
which Friedlander founds upon other references to 
Minim. Whatever likeness there may be between 
Minuth and Gnosticism, still the fact remains that in 
one instance, rightly called by Friedlander " sehr lehr- 
reich," Minuth is expressly associated with Christianity. 


On p. 80 he quotes the passage about the " Giljonim 
and the books of the Minim" (b. Shabb. 116 a ; see 
above, p. 160 fol. I have translated from the version 
in T. Shabb. xiii. 5, which, however, is almost the 
same as that in the Gemara). Friedlander asserts 
that the Giljonim (properly margins of written 
scrolls) are identical with the Diagramma of the 
Ophite Gnostics ; and his best argument is the 
application of Isa. lvii. 8, Behind the doors and the 
posts thou hast set up thy memorial. The Talmud, 
however, does not say what was in the Giljonim, 
except nrDTK, sacred names, so that the identification 
of them with the Diagramma is at best only con- 
jectural. But Friedlander, in his translation of the 
passage, again misleads his reader by manipulating 
the text. The Talmud says, comparing idolaters 
with Minim, fntfon proe p* Mm pawi p*DD Mn, i.e. 
" These [viz. the Minim] acknowledge [God] and lie ; 
those [the idolaters] do not acknowledge [Him] and 
lie." Friedlander translates "denn diese, die Minim 
namlich, sind Wissende und leugnen ; jene aber 
leugnen aus Unwissenheit." By using the word 
' Wissende,' which he emphasises, Friedlander allows 
it to be thought that the Talmud uses a word corre- 
sponding to 'Gnostic.' If it did, that would be a 
strong argument in support of his theory. But the 
Talmud does not say anything about ' knowing.' The 
word to express that would be pjn*. The word 
actually used is proo* ' acknowledge,' ' recognise.' 
The Minim, being Jews, acknowledged the God of 
Israel while they spoke falsely. The idolaters, being 
Gentiles, did not acknowledge him, and spoke falsely. 
Here again it is not fair to the reader who may be 


unable to consult the original text to deal with it as 
Friedlander does, nor does it increase one's respect 
for Friedlander himself as a reliable exponent of the 
Talmud. The text of the passage is indeed printed 
in a footnote ; but the mistranslation is allowed to 
stand, and is repeated with emphasis on p. 82. As 
to the identification of the Giljonim with the Dia- 
gramma there is not sufficient evidence to decide one 
way or the other. Very possibly the Diagramma 
was included in the condemnation pronounced upon 
heretical writings in the present passage. But 
' Giljonim ' does not mean ' tables/ ' tafeln,' as Fried- 
lander says it does, p. 83. 

On p. 100 fol. Friedlander deals in detail with the 
case of Elisha ben Abujah (Aher) and the story of 
the four men who entered Paradise. He has no 
difficulty in showing that all this refers to Gnosticism. 
But here again he makes changes which tell in favour 
of his theory. He suppresses words in the original 
text which contradict his interpretation of the pas- 
sage b. Hag. 15 a about Aher and Metatron, as has 
been shown (see above, p. 288). And, in his discus- 
sion of the doctrine of Metatron (p. 103 in Friedl.), 
he says, " Very instructive in regard to the position 
ascribed to Metatron in the haggadic literature of the 
first two Christian centuries, is the following dialogue, 
contained in the Talmud, between R. Idi and a Min," 
etc. The reference is to b. Sanh. 38 b (see above, 
p. 286). Now R. Idi did not live in the second 
century, but in the fourth, a fact of which Friedlander 
ought to have been aware, and which makes the 
passage referred to useless as evidence in support of 
his theory. 


On p. 108 (Friedl.) is another instance of misre- 
presentation of the text. The passage is quoted 
(Qoh. r. on vii. 26, see above, p. 219), in which R. 
Isi of Csesarea expounded Ecc. vii. 26 in reference to 
Minuth. Six pairs of names are mentioned, of which 
the first in each pair represents those who " please God 
and escape" from Minuth, the second the "sinners 
who are caught." The first pair is ' R. Eliezer and 
Jacob of Chephar Neburaia.' Friedlander says that 
this is plainly meant to be Jacob of Chephar Sechanja. 
But Jacob of Ch. Neburaia was a well-known person, 
and possibly contemporary with R. Isi, who mentions 
him. The last pair, according to Friedlander, are 
"R. Elieser and R. Jehoshua, and (the sinner is) 
Elisha ben Abuja." Now the original text does not 
say this. It gives the last name simply as 'Elisha. 7 
Even if this be the correct reading, the fact remains 
that nowhere else does 'Elisha' mean 'Elisha ben 
Abujah. 1 That man is always referred to either by his 
full name, or else by his nickname of Aher. It might 
be argued that in this instance Elisha does mean E. 
b. Abujah. But Friedlander does not argue it; he 
simply takes it for granted, and allows his reader to 
suppose that he is supported by the original text. 

Here then are no less than five instances in which 
Friedlander supports his theory by misrepresentations 
of the evidence, as contained in the original texts. 
A theory which rests upon such arguments cannot 
look for much favour. Previous Talmud scholars, 
who have held a different theory, and upon whose 
ignorance and superficiality Friedlander pours scorn, 

1 Except for brevity, when he has already been mentioned previously in 
the same passage. This is not the case here. 


may have been mistaken in their opinion ; but at least 
they dealt fairly both with their text and with their 
readers, and did not descend to such methods as 
those here exposed. 

Bereft of its false witnesses, the theory of Fried- 
lander does not amount to much. Gnosticism, be- 
yond a doubt, was known to the Talmudic Rabbis, 
and Elisha ben Abujah was the chief representative 
of it. In some instances the practices ascribed to 
the Minim are such as are associated with Gnostics, 
and especially Ophite Gnostics. And, if there were 
no other evidence, it would be reasonable enough to 
identify the Minim with the Gnostics. But, if we 
are at liberty to assume that what is true of one Min 
is true of all Minim (and Friedlander rests his whole 
argument upon this assumption), then the evidence 
connecting Minuth with Jewish Christianity is suffi- 
cient to disprove the alleged identity of the Minim 
with the Gnostics. Neither Friedlander nor anyone 
else would propose to identify the Jewish Christians 
with Gnostics, which is the only alternative. This 
much, however, may be conceded as a possibility, not 
as a certainty, that the Rabbis did not so sharply 
distinguish between Jewish Christians and Gnostics 
but that they occasionally attributed to the one what 
was really to the discredit of the other. In this way 
may be explained the unsavoury stories about the 
Minim, and the allegations against them of immoral 
conduct, of which we have met with several examples. 
Finally, there is to be reckoned in favour of Fried- 
lander's theory the a priori probability that the 
Gnostics, rather than the Jewish Christians, would 
come into hostile relations with orthodox Jews. The 


Gnostics gave much trouble to the Christian Church 
as well as to the Jewish. Whereas the Jewish 
Christians, if they adhered to the ceremonial law, as 
they are usually supposed to have done, and differed 
from the main body of Jews only in regard to the 
Messiahship of Jesus, might seem to be comparatively 
harmless. This is, indeed, the strongest argument 
in favour of Friedlander's theory; and it is to be 
regretted that he did not give more attention to it, 
instead of damaging his case by less respectable 
attempts at proof. 

The view has usually been held that the Minim 
were, or included, Jewish Christians. That this is 
the right view seems to me to be put beyond dispute 
by the evidence of the passages in which the Minim 
are mentioned, at all events if we are at liberty to 
assume that what is said of Minim in one instance is 
true of Minim in general. In many of the passages 
examined there is nothing distinctive in what is said 
concerning the Minim, certainly nothing definitely 
Christian. But in a few of the passages a connexion 
between Minuth and Christianity is so definitely 
stated that it cannot be excluded from neutral 
passages except on the ground of an equally definite 
statement to the opposite effect. There is nowhere 
to be found, so far as I know, a definite statement 
connecting the Minim with some persons other than 

The evidence for the connexion of Minim with 
Christians may be briefly summed up as follows: — 

1st. In the passage already often referred to, b. A. 
Zar. 16 b fol. (see above, p. 137), it is related how R. 
Eliezer was put on his trial for Minuth. He accounted 


for this, in conversation afterwards, by saying that he 
had once met 'one of the disciples of Jesus the 
Nazarene, by name Jacob of Chephar Sechanja,' who 
told him an exposition of a text which he said he had 
learnt from Jesus. In the version in T. Hull. ii. 24, 
it is said that this Jacob ■ said a word of Minuth in 
the name of Jeshu ben Pantiri.' Also in b. A. Zar. 
27 b (see p. 104) this same ' Jacob of Chephar Sechanja' 
is called 'Jacob the Min,' and he is described as 
proposing to heal a sick man ; according to the 
version T. Hull. ii. 22, 23, he wished to do this ' in 
the name of "Jeshua" ben Pandira.' This is the 
locus classicus for the identification of Minim with 

2nd. In b. Shabb. 116 a (see pp. 146, 156, 161) 
there are mentioned in close connexion the books 
of the Minim and the Evangelion. 

3rd. Qoh. r. on i. 8 (see above, p. 211) gives the 
story of the Minim of Capernaum and their treatment 
of Hananjah, nephew of R. Jehoshua. The Rabbi 
says to his nephew, ' Since the ass of that wicked one 
has roused itself against thee,' etc. Here there is an 
unmistakable allusion to Jesus. The mention of 
Capernaum points in the same direction. 

4th. The doctrine of Two Powers in Heaven is in 
many passages ascribed to the Minim (see above, p. 
262 and elsewhere). In one place, Pesiqta r. xxi. p. 
100 b (see above, p. 304), is the phrase, ' If the son of 
the harlot saith to thee, there are two Gods,' etc. The 
' son of the harlot ' clearly indicates Jesus. The con- 
nexion of the doctrine of Two Powers in Heaven 
with Christianity is further shown by internal evi- 
dence, as the doctrine in question appears to rest upon 


the Christology of the Epistle to the Hebrews (see 
the discussion, p. 264 fol.). 

The combined force of all these separate arguments 
seems to me to be very great, and to decide the 
question at issue in favour of the identification of 
Minim with Jewish Christians. 

A remarkable confirmation of this view is found 
in a passage of Jerome (Ep. 89 ad Augustin : quoted 
by Gieseler, Ecc. Hist, i. 98 n. 4, Eng. Tr.), "Usque 
hodie per totas Orientis synagogas inter Judaeos 
haeresis est, quae dicitur Minaearum, et a Pharisaeis 
nunc usque damnatur, quos vulgo Nazaraeos 
nuncupant, qui credunt in Christum, filium Dei, 
natum de virgine Maria, et eum dicunt esse qui sub 
Pontio Pilato passus est et resurrexit ; in quern et nos 
credimus, sed, dum volunt et Judaei esse et Christiani, 
nee Judaei sunt nee Christiani." I have not till now 
referred to this interesting passage, because I wished 
to decide the question of the identity of the Minim 
from the evidence of the Rabbinical literature. 
Having done so, it is fair to call in this unimpeach- 
able witness who can speak of the Minim out of his 
own personal knowledge. He says that they are a 
sect of the Jews who profess to be both Jews and 
Christians, and are, in fact, neither. This agrees 
exactly with what we have already ascertained, viz., 
that the Minim are secretly unfaithful Jews, claiming 
to be Christians, but yet remaining in communion 
with Jews. 1 Hence they were objects of suspicion 
and hatred to the Jews, while not acknowledged by 

1 Note that, according to Jerome, the Minim are to found 'per totas 
Orientis synagogas ' ; they needed, therefore, to be detected by such devices 
as the 'formula against the Minim.' 


the great body of non-Jewish Christians. It is also 
interesting that Jerome says that the Minim are 
' commonly called Nazaraei,' the equivalent of Notzri. 
This identification is not found expressly stated in 
the Talmud, though it is implied. 1 It is worth 
mentioning here that the term Ebionite (p*3k), is 
nowhere used in the Rabbinical literature to designate 
heretics, whether Minim or any other. 

The theory that the Minim are intended to desig- 
nate Jewish Christians I regard as having been now 
conclusively proved. This may be otherwise ex- 
pressed by saying that wherever the Talmud or the 
Midrash mentions Minim, the authors of the state- 
ments intend to refer to Jewish Christians. The 
possibility is still open that the Rabbis attributed to 
Minim opinions or actions which in fact were not 
held by Christians, or that they occasionally used 
the term Min as a name for enemies of Judaism, 
and applied it to Gentiles. These are exceptional 
cases, and do not affect the main argument. 

It must, however, be admitted that the theory 
which identifies Minim with Jewish Christians is not 
free from difficulties, which would be serious if the 
evidence in favour of the theory were less decisive. 
It will have struck every reader who has gone 
through the long series of polemical discussions 
examined in the earlier part of the book, that the 
subjects of debate are not what we should have ex- 
pected in the controversies of Jews with Christians. 
Most remarkable is the absence of all reference to 
the alleged Messiahship of Jesus. That Gentile 

1 The Notzrim are mentioned by R. Johanan (p. 171), and the Christian 
Sunday is called the Nazarene day (ibid.). 


Christians should have ignored this might be under- 
stood ; but that neither Jews nor Jewish Christians 
should have a word to say about it seems very 
strange. Even in the passages where Jesus himself 
is mentioned there is no allusion to his alleged 
Messiahship, though it is perhaps implied in the 
statement that he was a deceiver. And in the 
passage in b. Sanh. 97-98, where a good deal is said 
about the ' coming of the Son of David/ there is no 
reference to the alleged fulfilment of the prophecy 
in Jesus. I can only account for this by supposing 
that the Minim were Jewish Christians whose Christ- 
ology was developed beyond the point at which the 
Messiahship was the chief distinction of Jesus. In 
support of this view it is important to recall the 
evidence of likeness between the doctrines of the 
Minim and the Christology of the Epistle to the 
Hebrews (see above, pp. 264, 272, 322, 340). The 
identification of the Minim with Jewish Christians, 
vouched for as it is by the explicit statements already 
quoted, cannot claim the support of anything very 
distinctive in the evidence furnished by the polemical 
references. For the most part such evidence is 
hardly more than neutral. It must be remembered, 
however, that it was no part of the purpose of the 
Talmud to supply a full description of the Minim. 
They are only mentioned casually, where there was 
opportunity or need for marking them off from the 
faithful Jews. 

I answer the question, then, ' Who were the 
Minim ? ' by adopting the common view that they 
were Jewish Christians, and add only these two 
qualifications — first, that the name may occasionally 


denote other heretics, but most often refers to Jewish 
Christians ; second, that the Jewish Christians desig- 
nated by the name Minim held a Christology similar 
to that of the Epistle to the Hebrews. 1 

§ iii. The Place of the Minim in History 

This is perhaps a too ambitious title, seeing that 
the notices of the Minim are so fragmentary as we 
have found them to be. All that I can hope to do 
is to try and bring the scanty facts recorded about 
them into connexion with the history of their times, 
and particularly to inquire if any light can be ob- 
tained upon their relation to the Christian Church. 
I repeat here what I said in the preface, that I make 
no attempt to give a complete illustration of the sub- 
ject from the side of the early Christian literature. If 
I can provide material that may be useful to students 
in that field, I shall be well content. 

The first historical fact recorded in connexion with 
the Minim is the composition of the formula against 
them, known as the Birchath ha-Minim (see above, 
p. 125 fol.). This liturgical addition was introduced 
when R. Gamliel II. was president of the assembly 
at Jabneh, and it marks the first official recognition 
of the existence of the Minim. Why was it intro- 

1 This is virtually the same view as that of Gratz (G. d. J., iv. pp. 90-93, 
and especially Note ii. p. 433). I am the more glad to find myself in agree- 
ment with so distinguished a scholar, because I have worked out my case 
independently. His book presents the solution of the Minim-problem with 
admirable clearness, but with the brevity demanded by the other claims of 
his vast subject. There is therefore room for a discussion of the problem 
in minute detail such as I have attempted in this book. 


duced at this time, and not earlier or later? The 
factors which determine the date are three, viz., the 
presidency of R. Gamliel, who ordered the formula ; 
the death of Shemuel ha-Qaton, who composed it, 
and lived at least a year afterwards ; and the de- 
struction of the Temple and the desolation of 
Jerusalem in a.d. 70. The first and second of these 
factors are sufficient to fix the date, at all events 
approximately. The third is necessary, however, 
because it points to the reason why a formula against 
the Minim was needed. 

The chronology of the period immediately after 
the fall of Jerusalem is extremely obscure in regard 
to the lives of the leading Rabbis. R. Johanan ben 
Zaccai made Jabneh the headquarters of Rabbinical 
Judaism, having, according to tradition (b. Gitt. 56 a ), 
obtained from Vespasian the gift of that city 'with 
its wise men.' Evidently there was an assembly of 
some kind at Jabneh even before the capture of 
Jerusalem. R. Johanan ben Zaccai presided for a 
time at Jabneh, but probably not for more than two 
or three years. He was not there when he died, for 
it is said that his disciples after his death went to 
Jabneh. He is said to have had a school (Beth ha- 
midrash) at Berur Hail (b. Sanh. 32 b ), and no doubt 
that is where he died. After his death R. Gamliel 
II., as chief of the descendants of Hillel, took the 
lead, and was acknowledged apparently even by the 
Roman government (M. Edu. vii. 7) as the official 
head of the Jews. But when this took place, and 
whether immediately after the death or retirement 
of Johanan, cannot be determined. There is no 
certain evidence which would warrant us in dating 


the beginning of Gamliel's presidency much earlier 
than a.d. 80. 

The death of Shemuel ha-Qaton can hardly be 
placed later than that year, if the reasons given above 
(p. 129 fol.) are valid. 

The bearing upon the question before us of the 
destruction of the Temple is this, that to Jewish 
Christians no less than to Jews the cessation of the 
Temple services and all connected therewith was 
an event of profound significance. As long as the 
Temple yet stood, the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem 
appear to have taken part in the ritual observances 
equally with the non- Christian Jews, while at the 
same time they formed a community to some extent 
separate from the Jews. But when the Temple was 
destroyed, and the ceremonial law thereby became 
a dead letter, there was ground for a divergence of 
opinion as to the real meaning of that event and 
the practical lesson to be drawn from it. The Jews 
maintained the validity de jure of the whole cere- 
monial law, though de facto its operation was sus- 
pended. But it was equally possible to maintain 
that de jure also the ceremonial law was abrogated, 
and that henceforth its meaning was to be regarded 
as symbolic instead of literal. That the Jewish 
Christians as a whole took this view cannot be 
shown, and is indeed unlikely. But that many of 
them did so can hardly be doubted. For this is 
precisely the link which connects the original Jewish 
Christians with the Minim. If I am right in 
ascribing to the Minim a theology akin to that set 
forth in the Epistle to the Hebrews, then the infer- 
ence lies ready to hand that it was the symbolic 


interpretation of the ceremonial law which opened 
the way for a Christology more highly developed 
than that of the orginal Jewish Christians. I do not 
intend to say that this change of view was the result 
of the teaching of the Epistle to the Hebrews. I 
would rather say that the epistle was the result of 
the change, and that the real cause was the cessa- 
tion of the ritual of the Temple. The epistle, wher- 
ever it may have been written and to whom- 
soever addressed, reflects the change by which the 
original Jewish Christians became the Minim. Gratz 
(G. d. J., iv. p. 433) even holds that the Epistle to the 
Hebrews is a sort of declaration of independence on 
the part of the Minim, by which they marked their 
severance from Judaism. I would not go so far as 
that; because, as we have seen, the Minim did not 
sever themselves from Judaism, but claimed to be 
Jews no less than Christians. 1 It was their secret, 
not open, disloyalty to Judaism which made them 
the object of distrust and fear on the part of the 
Rabbis. But that there is a very close connexion 
between the Minim and the Epistle to the Hebrews 
is beyond question; and it is worth observing that 
Harnack (Chronologie, p. 479), arguing on quite other 

1 In this connexion cp. Rev. ii. 9, The blasphemy of them which say they 
are Jews, and they are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Also Rev. iii. 9, 
where almost the same words occur. Vischer, in his famous monograph, in 
which he shows that the Apocalypse is a Jewish work edited by a Christian, 
allows that cc. L— iii. are of Christian origin. No doubt for the most part 
they are. Yet it is hard to understand why a Christian should blame other 
Christians for saying that they are Jews when they are not. Is it not possible 
that in these phrases (and also in the references to Balaam ii. 14 and the 
Nicolaitans ii. 6, 15), however they may have been interpreted by the 
Christian editor, there is a trace of original Jewish hostility to the Minim ? 
I can only suggest the question, and leave the solution of it to N.T. scholars. 


lines, places the date of the Epistle between a.d. 
65 and 95. We cannot, therefore, be far wrong in 
assigning the formula against the Minim to the year 
80, or thereabouts. The formula represents the 
official condemnation by the Rabbis of the spurious 
Judaism which was growing secretly in their 
midst, and at the same time furnished a means of 

The formula against the Minim was only one out 
of several liturgical phrases which served as means 
of detecting heresy. These have been examined 
already (see above, p. 199 fol.). When these were 
first associated with Minuth cannot be exactly de- 
termined. The Gemara which comments on the 
Mishnah containing them throws no light on their 
origin, and very little on their interpretation. This 
of itself, however, implies a considerable antiquity; 
and although certainty on the point is not attainable, 
it is at least a reasonable theory that they are due 
to the same assembly at Jabneh which adopted the 
formula against the Minim. We have also seen 
(above, p. 197 fol.) that the book of Ecclesiastes 
(Qoheleth) was by some deemed heretical, and that 
on that account the Rabbis sought to withdraw it, 
i.e. pronounce it uncanonical. The allegation of 
heresy, Minuth, rests, it is true, only upon the 
evidence of R. Benjamin b. Levi and R. Shemuel 
b. Jitzhaq, who both lived in the fourth century. 
But the Mishnah (Jad. iii. 8) states expressly that 
the question of withdrawing the book was debated 
in the assembly at Jabneh, and that this took place 
on the day when R. Gamliel was temporarily deposed 

and R. El'azar b. Azariah elected Nasi in his stead. 



The Mishnah does not give Minuth as the reason 
why the withdrawal of Ecclesiastes was proposed, 
nor is that assigned as the reason in b. Shabb. 30 b , 
where the proposal is referred to. On that account 
I do not venture positively to affirm that an alleged 
tendency to Minuth was one of the reasons. But 
at least the passage in the Mishnah (with the context 
before and after), does show that a considerable 
amount of attention was bestowed by the assembly 
at Jabneh on questions affecting Scripture; and it 
is certainly not improbable, still less impossible, that 
the existence of Minuth, which had led to the 
drawing up of the formula against the Minim should 
have been one of the causes which shaped the de- 
cisions of the Rabbis. The assertion that the debate 
on the book of Qoheleth, and on the other points 
mentioned, took place on the very day of the 
deposition of R. Gamliel can hardly be accepted 
literally, if only because no one day would suffice 
for such a varied discussion, to say nothing of the 
stormy scene which no doubt accompanied the 
deposition of R. Gamliel. May we not refer the 
decisions which are said to have been made 'on 
that day ' to the time during which the degradation 
of R. Gamliel lasted? The year in which his 
deposition took place cannot be exactly determined, 
but was probably about a.d. 100. 1 

1 I obtain the date suggested in the text from the following considerations. 
When E. Gamliel was deposed, R. Eliezer was already excommunicated, for 
his name does not occur amongst those present on the occasion (b. Ber. 27 b , 
28 a ) ; and, further, the report of what was done " on that day" was carried 
to him in Lud, by one of his disciples (T. Jad. ii. 16). The excommuni- 
cation of R. Eliezer took place probably in or about a.d. 95 (see above, 
p. 144 n.). R. Gamliel, shortly afterwards, made his journey to Rome, and 


In the absence of more decisive evidence, it may 
be taken as fairly probable that the various regula- 
tions, liturgical and scriptural, concerning the Minim 
were made by the assembly at Jabneh, under the 
presidency of R. Gamliel, and thus dated from the 
end of the first century. The alternative is that 
they were made at Usha, where an assembly 
(Sanhedrin) was twice held. But very little is 
known of what was done at either of these assemblies, 
and that little does not refer to liturgical matters; 
there is, therefore, nothing beyond the bare possibility 
to warrant the theory that the regulations mentioned 
above were framed at Usha. 

Of the practical effect of these detective formulas 
nothing is known. No instance is recorded of any 
heretic having been discovered through their means. 
We can only assume that the general result was to 
widen the breach between Jews and Minim, and 
make it more difficult for the latter to remain in 
open association with the former. Yet, as we have 
seen (above, p. 378), according to Jerome the Minim 
were in his day to be found 'per totas Orientis 

The consideration of the Formula against the 
Minim, and the liturgical variations connected there- 
with, leads naturally to the subject of the mutual 
relations between Jews and Minim. I go on, there- 
fore, to inquire what general conclusions may be 
drawn from the evidence presented in the earlier 
part of the book upon that subject. In this con- 
must have been absent at least some months. I do not know of any 
evidence for fixing the date of his deposition immediately after his return, 
and therefore give it only approximately as a.d. 100. 


nexion the story of the arrest of R. Eliezer (see 
above, p. 137 fol.) is of great importance and de- 
serving of further study. It will be remembered 
that R. Eliezer was arrested and tried on a charge 
of Minuth, and that after his acquittal he accounted 
for his having been accused on such a charge by 
recalling an encounter which he had once had with 
a Min, by name Jacob of Chephar Sechanja, a 
disciple of Jesus. The date of the arrest I have 
given as a.d. 109. That he was arrested for Minuth 
is, of course, the Jewish way of describing the affair. 
The Roman government knew nothing of Minim 
as such, but only of adherents of Jesus, as distinct 
from Jews, with whom they did not interfere. R. 
Eliezer evidently felt the charge of Minuth as a 
worse calamity than his arrest and trial. After his 
acquittal he went home in great trouble and refused 
to be comforted, a thing he certainly would not 
have done merely for having escaped with his life 
from a Roman tribunal. It was not merely that 
he had been tried for Minuth, but that, as he was 
reminded by the question of R. Aqiba, he had 
actually compromised himself by intercourse with a 
Min. The story shows that the existence of the 
Minim was recognised by the Jews as an actual 
source of danger to Judaism, and that the Minim, 
however much they desired to be regarded as Jews, 
were, as Christians, known as a distinct body of 
people, and were regarded as such not only by Jews 
but also by Gentiles. R. Eliezer himself, having 
suffered through Minuth, uttered many warnings on 
the subject. He interpreted Pro v. v. 8, Keep thy 
way far from her, and come not near the door of her 


house, in reference to Minuth. Also, probably, 
Prov. ii. 19, None that go to her return again ; and 
If they return they do not attain the patlis of life 
(see above, pp. 188-9). Also Ps. xiv. 1, The fool 
hath said in his heart there is no God (p. 196 n.). 
Also Ecc. vii. 26, For she hath cast down many 
wounded (p. 138), and he used to say, "Ever let a 
man flee from what is hateful, and from that which 
resembles what is hateful." It should be remembered, 
in this connexion, that R. Eliezer is the original 
authority for the tradition concerning Jesus (p. 351). 
This attitude of hostility towards, and dread of, the 
Minim finds expression in the rule laid down in T. 
Hull, ii. 20, 21, " Slaughtering by a Min is idolatry ; 
their bread is Samaritan bread, their wine is wine 
offered to idols, their fruits are not tithed, their books 
are books of witchcraft, and their sons are bastards. 
One does not sell to them or receive from them or take 
from them or give to them. One does not teach their 
sons trades, and does not obtain healing from them, 
either healing of property or healing of lives " (above, 
p. 177). This is not a halachah, an authoritative legal 
decision, but it represents a consensus of opinion 
amounting almost to a law. Therefore the instances 
are mentioned in which it was not observed. Such 
was the famous case of Ben Damah (above, p. 103), 
which is recorded immediately after the passage just 
quoted, in T. Hull. And it is followed by the case of 
R. Eliezer's arrest. The rule laid down about having 
no intercourse with the Minim may be fairly ascribed 
to the Rabbis of Jabneh, possibly owing to the mis- 
fortune of R. Eliezer. In the case of Ben Damah, 
the danger which was said to threaten him, if he let 


himself be healed by Jacob the Min, was that he 
would thereby transgress the words of the Wise, 
i.e. the Rabbis. The reference is clearly to some 
such rule as is here laid down. 

Intercourse between Jews and Minim was thus 
hindered as far as possible, but it could not be 
altogether prevented. And one especial source of 
danger was to be found in the books of the Minim, 
lest they should find their way into the hands of Jews 
and be read by them. So the rule just mentioned 
says that the books of the Minim are books of 
witchcraft. Another rule, contained in T. Jad. ii. 13, 
states that ' the Rolls (or margins) and books of the 
Minim do not defile the hands,' in other words, are 
not to be regarded as sacred (see above, p. 160). It 
would not have been necessary to make this rule un- 
less such books contained sacred names and citations 
of texts from the Hebrew scriptures. It can hardly 
be doubted that amongst the books of the Minim 
were included Gospels, but there is no definite state- 
ment on the point. The story of Imma Shalom, 
R. Gamliel, and the Christian judge (p. 146) shows 
that, perhaps as early as a.d. 72 or 73, texts were 
known to the Jews which are now found in one of 
the canonical Gospels. But the earliest authentic 
use of the term Evangelion is to be found in the 
witticism of R. Meir, the date of which is the middle 
of the second century (p. 162). The only evidence 
that the Gospels were actually known to the Jews is 
the merely negative evidence of the strong prohibition 
of the books of the Minim. The strongest de- 
nunciations of the books of the Minim are those of 
R. Ishmael andiR. Tarphon (p. 155), in the early 


part of the second century. With this reprobation 
of the writings of the Minim may be associated the 
doubts as to the canonicity of the book of Ecclesiastes, 
on the ground that it contained words which led to 
Minuth. This probably was one of the grounds on 
which the proposed decanonization of the book was 
based ; but it is not distinctly stated to have been so 
until the fourth century (p. 197). 

That the Jews, besides hating the Minim, could 
not afford to disregard them, is shown by the state- 
ment that certain proposed modifications of the 
liturgy were not carried out because of the ' carping ' 
of the Minim, in other words, because they would 
give to the Minim an opportunity to deride the 
religious observances of the Jews (p. 308 fol.). With 
this may be connected the counsel of R. Aqiba 
(p. 316), 'Do not give occasion to the Minim to 
humble you.' The same words are also ascribed to R. 
Jose ben Halaphta. What the precise bearing of the 
advice was I am unable to say, but it clearly points 
to a fear as well as a dislike of the Minim. The 
same is true of the story about the false witnesses 
and the new moon (p. 327 fol.). 

The Rabbinical literature nowhere gives a complete 
account of the Minim. It relates many anecdotes 
about Minim, and also records dialogues between a 
Min and a Rabbi. Both classes of statement show 
the Minim in an unfavourable light ; but the former 
do so much more than the latter. The anecdotes 
about the Minim show them as grossly immoral in 
their lives, and also as practising magical arts. Ex- 
amples of such allegations are found in the stories 
about the Minim of Capernaum (p. 211), and the 


adventures of R. Jonathan (p. 215) and R. Jehudah 
ben Naqosa (p. 218), of which Capernaum may have 
been the scene. Compare also the story of the 
woman who desired to be received as a proselyte 
(p. 188). We have here an echo of the charges of 
immorality against which the Christian Apologists 
had to defend their co-religionists. For the allegation 
of magical powers the evidence is found in the stories 
(pp. 112, 115), of ' signs and wonders ' done by Minim. 
And with these must certainly be classed the stories 
of attempts by Minim to heal sick persons in the 
name of Jesus (pp. 103, 108). The Talmud draws no 
distinction between such deeds done by Minim and 
similar deeds done by the Rabbis. And it is noted 
that R. Jehoshua ben Hananjah was more than a 
match for the Minim in respect of power to do such 

When, however, we turn to the records of dia- 
logues between Jews and Minim, we find no trace 
of such repulsive characteristics. The conversation 
usually turns upon disputed interpretations of Scrip- 
ture, often, but not always, with a hostile intention 
on the part of the Min. R. Eliezer, indeed, on his 
own showing, was pleased with what Jacob the Min 
said to him. And in many of the dialogues which 
have been presented in the earlier part of this book 
there is hardly more than a civil exchange of opinion, 
certainly nothing answering to the strong language 
used against the Minim by R. Tarphon and R. 
IshmaeL There is, however, no real contradiction 
between these two representations of the Minim. 
The one indicates what the Rabbis thought of the 
Minim, the other what they said to them. And it 


may be further remarked that relations between Jews 
and Minim were probably most hostile at the end of 
the first century and the beginning of the second, 
and that gradually they became more friendly as the 
Minim proved to be less dangerous and less powerful. 
For, in the first century, even at the close of it, 
when the official condemnation of the Minim was 
made, it was not evident to the Jews that the 
development of the Christian Church would proceed 
on Gentile lines, and would leave the Minim, i.e. 
the Jewish Christians, behind. The Jewish dread 
of Minuth was really dread of the Christian heresy ; 
and as it gradually appeared that the Minim did not 
represent the strength of the Christian movement, 
the danger of Minuth became less ; because there 
was obviously less danger to Judaism from a mainly 
Gentile Christianity than from a Jewish form of it, 
connected at so many points with pure Judaism. Of J 
Gentile Christianity the Rabbinical literature takes 
scarcely any notice at all. We have met, indeed, 
with a polemical reference to Christian Rome (p. 210) 
by R. Aha, who lived in or after the time of 
Constantine the Great. Beyond this one instance, n 
I do not know of any further allusion to Gentile 
Christianity. 1 The references to the ' kingdom being 
turned to Minuth' (p. 207) only indicates the hos- 

1 There are a few cases, noted as they occurred, where the Min was prob- 
ably a Gentile, not a Jew ; but nothing turns on the Christianity of the 
Min in such cases. He is merely an opponent of the Jews. When it is 
said (p. 179) that there are no Minim among the Gentiles, that means that 
a Gentile could not be a Min, although he might be a Christian. It does 
not imply that Minim were never to be found in Gentile countries. At 
least, if that were implied, it is not true, for we have met with Minim in 
Rome (p. 228), Alexandria (p. 221), and probably Antioch (p. 283). 


tility to Minuth already mentioned. The increase 
of that deadly heresy is not stated as a fact, but 
noted as one of the signs of the future advent of 
the Messiah. 

It is in accordance with this view of the diminish- 
ing hostility between Jews and Minim that the 
curious story about R. Saphra and the Minim of 
Caesarea (p. 266) becomes intelligible. There we 
find that R. Abahu, an unimpeachable Jew, re- 
commended R. Saphra, another unimpeachable Jew, 
to the Minim as their teacher, and that they accepted 
him as such. Even if, as Bacher suggests, R. Saphra 
was engaged not as a teacher but as an accountant, 
the fact would still remain that a Jew entered the 
service of the Minim upon the recommendation of 
another Jew. That would have been impossible in 
the first century, or even the second. R. Abahu 
himself had frequent intercourse with the Minim. 
The case of Jacob of Chephar Neburaia (p. 334 fol.) 
also goes to show the diminished hostility of relations 
between Jews and Minim in the fourth century. 
And the general conclusion may be drawn that the 
Minim, or Nazarenes, were by that time recognized 
to be a comparatively harmless body, though possibly 
numerous. They had no share in the vitality either 
of Judaism or Christianity, being rejected by the 
adherents of both religions. As Jerome says (p. 378), 
" They profess to be both Jews and Christians, 
while in fact they are neither Jews nor Christians." 
They had no inherent power of progress, and appear 
to have gradually died out. 

Of a history of the Minim, or Nazarenes, there 
can be no question, since the data are far too incom- 


plete. From the collection of passages, examined in 
the earlier part of this book, we gain a number of 
passing glances at them, and learn a few facts, some 
of great importance, some of little or none. They 
are represented as a kind of spurious Jews, vainly- 
claiming fellowship with the true Judaism, and re- 
jected because of their connexion with Christianity. 
They were in Judaism, but not of it. They fre- 
quented the synagogues, where suspicion of them 
found expression in liturgical devices for their de- 
tection, and in the noting of various phrases and 
gestures which were thought to betray their heresy. 
In their theology, so far as it can be ascertained, 
they departed from the strict monotheism of Judaism, 
and held the doctrine of the relation between God 
and Christ which is set forth in the Epistle to the 
Hebrews. Apparently they did not go any further 
along the line subsequently followed by Christian 
theology. There is, so far as I know, only the 
slightest trace of any reference to the doctrine of 
the Trinity to be found in the Rabbinical allusions 
to Minuth. 1 The Talmud knows of Gnostics and 
Gnosticism ; but it does not identify these with 
Minim and Minuth, although it is possible that the 
line between them was not always clearly marked. 
In the early days of the separation of Christianity 
from Judaism, the Minim were hated and feared. 

1 See above, p. 256, where the Minim ask R. Simlai to explain the three- 
fold designation, ■ God, God, the Lord.' This can hardly be other than an 
allusion to the three Persons of the Trinity ; but it is remarkable that there 
is no further allusion. The question most frequently debated was that of 
Two Powers or One. If the Jewish doctrine of the Divine Unity were to 
be maintained, it mattered nothing whether the alternative was a doctrine of 
Two Powers or of three, or of several. 


This hostility gradually diminished ; and, in any case, 
it was chiefly in Palestine that the existence of 
Minuth was felt to be a danger. In the Babylonian 
schools there was hardly more than a vague know- 
ledge of what Minuth was and why it was dangerous. 

I have now reached the end of my task, which was 
to present, in as full detail as possible, all the refer- 
ences which I could find in the Rabbinical literature 
of the first four centuries to the origin and develop- 
ment of Christianity. Looking back on the miscel- 
laneous collection of extracts which we have examined, 
it is interesting to observe how the two main groups 
into which it is divided have but slight connexion 
with each other. One group contains the evidence 
for the Jesus-Tradition, the other the notices of the 
Minim. These two groups stand apart not merely 
because they have been dealt with separately, but by 
reason of the curious fact that in the passages which 
mention Minim and Minuth there is seldom any 
direct mention of Jesus. There is only enough to 
justify the identification of Minim with some form 
of Christians. In other words, the Jesus-Tradition 
was apparently handed down within the Rabbinical 
schools mainly as a tradition, and received little or no 
additions from the intercourse between Jews and 
Minim, of which so many instances have been given. 

The general result of the whole study in which we 
have been engaged is to show, in two ways, how 
Judaism released itself from what it considered to 
be the danger of Christianity. It preserved only a 
careless and contemptuous tradition about Jesus, and 
resolutely resisted all attempts on the part of his 


Jewish-born disciples to come to terms with Jewish 
belief and practice. Judaism fought the enemy 
within her gates; of the rival outside, growing in 
power with every century, she took no notice. She 
went on her way, and on the line she chose for herself 
worked out her own salvation through centuries of 
noble and most tragic history. In like manner, 
though on other lines, Christianity went on its way 
and forgot its Jewish origin. In the land of its 
birth, and amongst the people who furnished the first 
disciples, Christianity was represented by a discredited 
and dwindling sect, claiming kinship with Jews and 
Christians, and disowned by both. 

In the hope that this study of an obscure field of 
history may be of service to scholars, in spite of the 
scantiness of the harvest which has been gathered, 
and that it may awaken in perhaps one or two readers 
something of the same deep interest which it has 
given to me during my labours upon it, I finish this 
book ; and, in parting from it, take regretful leave of 
what has been to me a friend and companion through 
many years. 







(1) p. 35. 

b. Shabb. 104 b :— "ft*** Wp* ntia Khflfl :lira b* tftDttl 

mi b*« nomoa onnta ertibo (rwi a-rao p abm trasrib 
p rrao p] dnswn pa n^n pr«w fm rr»n now ib man 

p diss b*n an^s b^m fcnao b*n anon "1 toa Kin tf-n-ws 
p-totf-D irm k^ed ab-w£ D*n£ iek *nt:o ies »in rmrr» 

: [nbrao *n nt3D ar-matron 

The passage enclosed in [ ], which occurs also in b. Sanh. 67 a , 
is not found in the modern Editions; it is supplied from Rabbi- 
nowicz, Diqduqe Sopherim, on the authority of the Munich and 
Oxford Mss, and the older Editions. 

(2) p. 41. 

b. Hagg. 4 b aba nsoD wm "»aa sip ^nb nwa *o cio^ an 
m tro am an ■o f* mnoi aba bn&n a^a m iti» tssi^ta 
wa bn nwb©b rrt ton rron ^ab* rroa main mn *«* 
■»pTn Kbi>£ s'nti rrt mi bra n*»ta w» aba-na D*na ^b 
Wi w rrt ton ^b vKfti MFW tr»« ab-ftfc d^-ie aoa rrt -i£« 
:as^Eb vimb ninww b^m rrt -usa nmn« 

(2a) ibid. Tosaphoth on same passage: ^abtt ma* rTOE ITin 

a^tw ab-M o^ltti marop "Wi naa ib ?-pa© rra n&o^n man 
: (ip sp) nam arroro vftto b» niaa run^m rm w n*oa 

26 : 


(3) p. 43. 

M. Jeb. IV. 13:— Jlb>E ^nK2E iKT* p JW3» W -|tt« 

tr*fb e^k n«KB inafld v&fc B*» nn wtn tf frffrn a font* 

(4) p. 45. 

b. Joma 66 b Kb y» Knn obiyb ijto iyfca t&Qm 'n n* ^bK© 
onb -rta» ffjin p NKfi nym bwib *ftj ^iba by aba Whw 
onbnEK *nKn p nymn b^snb ma fflttsn by aba w6*« Kb 
mt> on* wa «n* Kin n* itee nyinn by KbK ^inbKB Kb 
KbK D'ncna p , 4wt» "WP Kb top dk -nob irna irra h* nob 
:'iai Dbiya in wo W* Kb© nm iek Kb© i»b 

(5) p. 47. 

b. Sanh. I06 a :— 'i "itiK ooip Cjionbi K^is nbnra pm^ h IttK 
**to 'nnab ir^K ''Kin nrt»i *mwb *w* "n^Ki ir>in kbs 

(6) p. 48. 

b. Kallah 51 a 2HDW W TTtttt n£1K W6» Wl D^D T* 

Wi nnK oys :msn pi -imo w« Kmpy w msn p wik 
mk noD -iHK mpi^n w tarrafib i-Dyi vm o^tm ta^pr 
-ieik wbK w i»ki n» nb^ra nr i»m n« rib*** inKi iek-i 
msn pi itm ieik Kmpy w rrar p ieik y»w w "flrwo 
•Tv»an , nai by ninyb pb ^Kba ^n Kmpy imb ib rtaai 
rotti^ nrrvne nm piw bin iek b^K ibn -iD^pK ^k pb iek 
l om im * rrvaiK nK dk ira nb -iek -pirn nroap rroitti 
w n^n • ^b ya»n ib n-i£K Knn obiy ^nb ^m ^k ^bKifc 
niBK wb na nr !» nb *m* inbn bran m«fi ynra i&p? 
nyovno ^y Km ^b$i xton rwi wn rro nsmb ^ mos c i) ib 
wi bra rw * man 711 nrao pirnnn ksed nr p * n^ni 
^nbK 'n linn ii^k ny» nniKa ■ i^nini rat wmnvn Ki^py ^a-i 

:Kmpy ^rb mo nb^a n©K bKi©^ 


(7) p. 50. 

b. Sanh. i07 b tarpn ywi firm bara© ann Dbisb pan isn 
n^ms p *wini wi' sbi d^t ^mra vmb ifim» :w*b»3 ab 

*ibw '-i awi *tra o^t ^nion Cnrwn) iwb ism© 

WWr* w bra pa* »Db» ■wr vtrtept? s^n nw n^nis p 
n^b nb© XEb© Kin 'o n^istt bo ir»TDC0bl6 [wn] mrfife p 
K^-nsoDbK "o^b ©iipn w [bbfcw] WB nt:© p |WWD 
np 'WW* rwn *»M»n iDUta *r* *** [vnn»] piitisb© 
ib« ^nit: mp* mb tt» irrwil avjwta) [n^b] nstrm ana 
n^b ibk mtmt: n'w w (w) n^b iia« ir k^sodk W n*n 
ana mrasn *w** msia wn» p^sa pow nna pa Wi 
*w rrta m©ta up mn *6 ibnp rrt iM fw* nfio m tip fr 
inb ■nrm ^biapb iao rrapb ana sra© irnp np xp mn -in 
nb ninm»nn aro^ab qpT brx n^b ^i mrtm iao «in rmrai 
a^msi aainn bD ^m ^baipfc p n^b itt« p tin rrt i«» 
■nrwi w» to nttKi nai©n ni©*b rra "pp^ott pa cram n« 

:bKi©^ na rrnin ci©ia 

(8) p. 54. 

T. Shabb. XL 15. DTOam a^na ir^ba '-i vntt b* onpferi 
Yta* pa aba i^b xb rm p tfbm wbK *i nnb tok fncftft 

jpnp^sn bD na iaw ma ntn© *amo * 

(9) p. 56. 

b. Sanh. 103 a WQ SIX 11 rWTf '1 TOK tfion '1 TOSH 

k"i Tbnxa sip-' ab aei n*i *pba namn nb a^nai 

D^n amnini twn mtnbn "preai **b© ran fb* nsian a6 
ibi©an rrnpa« Trtti m p *7b am ab© ^bnaa aip^ »b wi 

rrtrcn i©^ pad o^aia 

(10) p. 62. 

j. Taan. 65 b :— ITDtt W b^ Dl» lb IttX^ DK ina« '1 113* 

iwm mnn D^ti»b nbi^ laws in mnnb ibid ^dx aix p man 

insEy 1 xbn 


(11) p. 63. 

Jalq. Shim. § 766, HD Dmbsn )tM Iff* TftpM 1T*bs th 

wrt\ nsi* nmo b'oon i&io tfi Dbi5?rr cpott nbi* wn ibipn 
rtrn nasi psbi pbi D'ODiDbi ni^bi oaob oimnotto ttmtii 
rntorti nibs 1TQS5? rrwwS opn^o -n wb i w» nos p dis o^o 
•pi obisn RWtti bD thMNJ ibipn no -jre ■p'fcb *1D obi*n bs 
o^s Kb 'so o^sn irtni 'nns ni*ob sbo ddwi ■» w* mn 
mm* tw wn dtdb sin bs smo wtn dsi dtd^i bs 
airo na nsi nw» 161 its» owpb sm pbnoa smo wfri 
i* ^is osbn ies bs ieioe nm^ *c t m fc ieirn ibo» so^i 
: nibs ita* no*o o^sn mis +im nsiaoo ntns nrnwa nw 

(12) p. 64. 

M. Sanh. X. 2:— pbn onb p» rrafnn *msi mata nobo 

*ms nowi nsns o*aii Q'rtia nobo sin obi*b 

jnmi bainmsi asu D*ba niamn 

(13) p. 67. 

b. Gitt. 56 b . 57 a . oit:^i nmns in oip^ibp in oibpDis 
■jstt n^b i*s msoa owob n^pos brs nwm6 va nin 
rrti tok inn yo-pkb ima bsio^ st4 ies s*b* smnn n^on 
sab* smnn inn ■nam bn inawipb ni»o sbi ?mto w6*b 
no5?D bsio^b i^an bn lai osib n*ni im n^roi so^i rwn 
n^ocis piotn ^s*n b"s ^s^n sina sinm rwn n^b itjs osi 
nos maw n^b ibpi rnb ^"ni ifw»pb rrt ^osd* hot bD 
sttb* smnn n^on "js* n^b ies irooa o*bnb n^pos bTs *w 
bD annual Dttibo ointi sb b"s inn ipinTsb m» bsio^ b"s 
brs rwtn *tr nnDon b"s ^s^n sina sinm ran b"s bww 
b"s sab* smnn n^on pro b"s bsio^ **oisb imaa n^pos 
ww bn ointi sb own oin orate b"s inn ^pimsb vna bsio-< 
nsisa b"s ^s^n sina sinm n^m b"si^y nnnn wiDib^sD pn 
nnnii msn )TP5 DTodti 11m b5? avbtin bD itt nasi nnnn 
:r"^ "nav obi^n rmis wxb bsio^ ^oifi pa n* nn sn 

* So the older Editions; the moderns read "WIS. The DlBSIp reads nur 1 ^. 


(14) p. 70. n. 

b. Sanh. i06 b :— ab inbisi m-iib worn rrnsj TO b"« 

: mi rm mi nnifctti ntjn *©in D*biE nab wrmh t^an 

(15) p. 72. 

b. Sanh. I06 b D*bi lb y^w ^ K^an trt norm ^"inn b"« 
maitn D*»tn *&* a'wro aba i^m Kb im^e b"« mn rrai n 
b"« *i-iki frth -a ia pa» nbm pnbri -in on^i ism sb 

in mi i^ro mm D*bn mopa& ^b im ifnb ma^p -pbe 
jn^tDD^b ome mm b^p id s-n>n orbs p© nbni pnbn 

(16) p. 75. 

b. Sanh. 106 a :— - bx tGtttt mm ^E ^1K 113*01 lb«E «©"n 

[bs dbi nat* mna© in ■na b"i©i ton] 

The passage in brackets was struck out by the Censor, 
but is vouched for by Rabbinowicz, on the authority of Mss. 
and the older Editions. 

(17) p. 76. 

b. B. Bathr. 14 b :~ :D*bl MWl HDD 1M rtOT 

This is repeated, in almost the same words, in j. Sotah. 20 d . 

(18) p. 77. 

j. Ber. I. 8. (3°) ftWtl IBM fOm 11 btflTO 111 ItTtt m 

pa ™ ^fiiai ffv bn nun iw v^p im© mn p-b p-iaa 
isms 'iib iba tern im xb« panan na*t3 *ara }nia rmp 
pii anur ii nw ^m ma parti 11 ban*© *i : ^oi no^b 
pnip pa ma tann Bp boa o*bn pbi tuna pup im« mn 
rwa» avw ijm 'ti» mm '1 -tiawi by "norib Kb© ami 
i"k rrehm m* pi a*»ro« wo nan pa '1 ia m '1 mnpi 
itravcbi tmoft rmna mini© wa -wba 

(19) p. 78. 

T. Sanh. x. 11. pnbjp pram* pa mini© rnrna w»n bi 
oroin mabii w ib pioitJ 3 ib poi* 2 ■wo rmn pa fin 


•no nsn nx ib |y6W i ptmi man a»ii xini TOSta maa 

-nba x-jbd pb 4 ito pi ibip nx fW0\ mix pirn im« 
:imbpoi 5 droan yyi tfar i ^» t^ wa 

Cod. Wien fWB 3 (C. Erfurt) om. 2 (Cod. Erfurt) fTftn « 
inxwn add ■ (ed. Venice 1522) -mx \D\Hb (C. Wien.) tfVJO niab 4 

(Cod. Wien) J*i n*cb 

(20) p. 79. 

j. Sanh. VII. 16. p. 25 e - d . DDJl xn * 'ID UH* tfUJ HT mottn 

nr !ptR rwi xin© frea *DDn m f« rr*ofc ms jro* -xb 

"W Q*tl tU i^b* i^ttDia i^b* d'nynb lb ^©v itfa *dDn 

■hd i^aa by -on nx ff rt r ar i )wm rv»aa irtu yw ihwi nm 

nba hbio pb iw p ibip nx •p*tti»i mix pam iw© 

: inibpoi i"ab vrorcam on»nn unA r i *w i** tfltorn 

[The same passage is found j. Jeb. 15 d with no material 

(21) p. 79. 

b. Sanh. 67 a p x mina© mwna w ba ix©i xwr 
nr»aa nan nx ib •pp^b-ra ib ptw wd ira fin pib* jwoao 
mix *piri p w© *hd jwrm n^aa dt* ib pawtji wiwi 

pro TtoK ib -mix nbm pix nxn i^x xini ibip nx fWiH 
nx n^s ^n -nam nbm ib n£ix xini twa ^b rwoiWB 
on ataita in inn ax d^aaia rrna* -nawi Dnaaw i^nbx 
•jx'Ofc -pnatt ■pSEi©© d'nyn lib ns^ pi wotti x^n p -mx 
imxbni -nba xido pb iw pi mix "pbpw pi n^ab mix 

: *wi x-jao p : nos a-tta 

(22) p. 83. 

b. Sanh. 43 a :— mam 2 i©^b inixbn noan atto* x^nm 
nx nTm n^ni qo^D© by bpo^b xm 3 dv '£ i^sb xtr 
mar ib ixttt xbi i^b* -rab^i xa^ mar ib *-ni© *m bD bx-i©-» 
xin miDT 4 ^Disn -ia 3 xiaoni [xbi* -iex] nos a-tta 1 imxbni 
w ■**» i^b* noDn xbi biisnn xb -ibx xaiami xin n^ott 

:mn mDbttb niipi' 2 

(Cod. Monac.) add i-iSian 2 (Cod. Flor) nos a-isai nn\a nn5?n « 

(Cod. Monac.) add n^b 4 (Cod. Mon.) add i-isian IUJ-i 3 


(23) p. 86. 

M. Sanh. VI. 4.:— D^ttsnm g WT*H •*! ^Ot|4W F&pttttta 

:d"*d navni spattn aba nbna i^a JsrnBrm 

(24) p. 86. 

T. Sanh. IX. 7:— nbbp ^ -na* lAn na *WW T*tti 'n n^n 

bs by ib» ins nrb nr |n?n BWnw d*™ i3©b *6n Dinba 
x^wo^bb »ii© nr csna isr -inab a^BCbb atti -man ibiD nbiyn 
IbfcniD swn 'i« Ml n:ny bs iron nibtn by inia fsh/n Wh 

1*411 mnba nbbp *q 1&kj TDb nibs 

(25) p. 90. 

b. Sanh. 43 a itfpD mapfia W»b lb W Di-pfcbn niman n"n 
^n^ n^nsn y*r* ina inb -i£a in*b rmm n-nni isini -ixa 
nw ^rva n^nm snm in* pa ib rwm oipba ia& nxnxi am 
p*m ipai mn snrn laps mb -iiaa iap& rtm tw nam 
m^na V 3 a " iJt1 B'nnotja nvoi arrn i»pa j** ib ttwi mnn ba 
n* vflaa mp iitonma -iS3i n^riDi aw isd mb niaa -irb 
nvna awrfi nm *paptt nobi&n nnai afwi aw ntt pa 
pa nb rraa bnrw» rasa itt a^nan jrw Wi mb t&M iDinb 
■raa n-nnb m*nft tvm Tpa na jhn iDDa ran *wi aw w 
awi aw rmn pa b"a nrnrt tnsna a^nan aw nun n* 

:i3W n-nn nair 

(26) p. 95. 

Abarbanel, TWWTl WE, on Dan. VII. 8.:— n«n oa niO 

nrtti yn©i am© ma p by a-pyr i-ina "ppn vnn wro T* 
■q ana arms ny»nn niabE ainan 7»ian n» m isnsi 

"iai iwoia aon 

(27) p. 97. 

b. Sotah 47 a :— yw hrm ba*tt ann Dbiyb pan isn 
p yn»WD abi irp in»a nroi iwrw y^baa ab r a npa 

n^nD- K^n i^tt y»ib» vni in«n +xrm i»ib ism© ninns 


Tbn *bb Kb T4n TtaiM awi 6*w np bKin ptt itiHD 

g|0Dn n* nnpb ran iriK-ipb want) b?tt »i« fan i©kd 
n*i rvms>©i d^wi npm pn bnroi own d'hsq nnpbi 
nniKn pmi *i iek b^p©i Kin d'Hsai qos ^kh ^bis b^p© 
W yw swn lb to* d^*i© mca pen* *©^bK mn n*© 
dbvb Tanni p pmn p*D n*n*i d^s-i© nD£© -is© bwb 
n©b©i irm nr prwi w tok dwi» tt! d^©dk waiKi 
wmnb ^brr© pm* *> "WH Tbn rifcb p©*i *©^bK ■£*! to 
^bnipfc p ib "tm p inn ib toa nm Kbi nnwro vmb 
r™*b rwi vp 1&D * P* awn na unsrw-n Kt>n© ^ bs toe 
awr« riKanb * nbn nnK© p» ■man kd^k -o* ^ke roiun 
jieisk nb ppn d© 'nttKi kd^ki pKb d^B© V s tTWWl 
rrnspia nm pen *teiri kdw *|b m$ »bi ^k rrm r*wt) 
•uroK -i©k Diptan ks rtsn *©^bK bK d^K^n ■» rrwrfi ?wi 
:p^m inn Kb aorswi 15H bbDtt wo ns T** Q© D'wn 

[Part of this passage occurs in b. Sanh. I07 b and forms 
the beginning of the extract given as (7) p. 49 above. To 
give the text of the version in Sanh. is needless, as it contains 
nothing of any importance beyond what is contained in the 
much fuller version in Sotah now before us.] 

(28) p. 103. 

T. Hull II. 22, 23.:— ©H3 1D©D© rtfcl p lT*bK '-Q fi©?E 

*bi K^-isa p y«r» di©a vrwtonb keo nto ©*<k nipsn von 
^k ib nttK mrr p ^k©*i rrnK ik lb nttK bKjra©"' *i wan 
'-i TDK now if >TKn K^anb p^oan abi ^KS-n© mK-i lb k*ok 
b© frd nrr* Kbi Dib©n inKi^© mn p ^i»» bK*a©^ 
w rtf id rwr* cpob Dnasn b© yvna pram bs© awn 

:©H3 15D«i TO pTlfe 

(29) p. 103. 

j. Shabb. 14 d : — Almost word for word the same as (28), 
then follows Kinb TWb ©H3 IDD©^ Kb© KbK 1D©5 ©MD MJh 

:Dnn im omK n©*i i©k itj^b rrt nin ?wi 


(30) p. 104. 

j. A.Zar.40 d , 41 a : — Same as (29) except that after the words 
WW* M9T1 is added:— : »TB)D p W Dtta lb W lb 1£tf 

(31) p. 104. 

b. A. Zar. 27 b :— JWVtt pm ftfOT D* D1K pim Ktt^ 8b 

ba?E©^ *i b« irvma p sei pa nwa nw *nb ib^sa piti 
abi imas-ib undo i^d tr^« dots mp:^ »m tsna www 
tan we Kfi-ttn ib mn ^na ba*w H b"in biew* H irwi 
trm na *tm6 p^son «bi ftna mra ntwi pa inpo *ons 
yrato arm p the* buttrtr *i t*» xip ran inttiw wfwc i* 
in© v^an *tn by mn* «bi nintjn ^nfciw nr-tt'n Tina 
7»^Eb ^nan *OTBxn rwtt W «ns ^d©^ via pisn D'nEis 


(32) p. 108. 

j. Shabb. i4 d :— fl» -a in ana *bn mb nin n^-Q m 

i«tt b"a p^fis id DW«h xn^iDB wh rfw& pa n^b ambi 

n^tt mn iba n^b n^n ms b"x ^b© nb^ b"a n^b nn«nb 

:t3^b»n wba WTO '»«» p n^b Bun p abi 

(33) p. 109. 

b. A. Zar. 28 a :— n^b imarfi mri nii»n dian insx w am 
imsnbT ^os wi ^tt« ^m xb im n^p«« bed nwtt mpj^ 

:n^pfcb nrSpOD nv»b 

(34) p. 112. 

j. Sanh. 25 d :— "pb2 «n^py "Yi *«W *T) "Wb '1 Kfcbl 

•rai na tdk "«wo m firan -"na^i ^owi jnw ^no^b 
ren mm p sew na stow 'nb nreb Yk "s^d "pri^sm 
tot na *i»w 'i "toa rwa p» p^sa nj *w nan m 
in n^b aw mn b^bsi pm ba nw ;n:nn nw tt&m 
inn» lib n*« -np^nsn n^b nw mn p^so-j faa bsi npimr* 
pa "pbw fib 1 ^ pm» -vn« pan *n» n*h from ^rnisi n^ 
rnn^D -ies ■ DDn nxi nti an a i^fc Kinnb y^in^ i"a pp tt n 


«e*> wscpm i£*n ntt **wb ainn i^a xwb fftnri pa a*rb 

mitt na mb rrt Tn*« • 'tt'o fiam nana in* p abi yh iek 

fftwi mb -pitta ym lib KM i i i^ta ei pi n»tt *pbni ^b 

:m*bm awi niE by SMDW *i "in W3Q ^bn 'rt*ttb 

(35) p. 115. 

j. Sank 25 d :— p^ip n^OD *«tf iW WJWl p 2TTW 1"S 

sfaoi V*** rtw p$T> ft l^ntan pb^a pb mn*i pmtDiai 
•^tt in rwn ^-ii^s-i atnoa Kinn fcwnn fbntt w i"k 
i"a p abi -bay mnsntti nm mm attiib mb pin Tins n^oD 
p^a abi^n^so bD *jn fH»tw M aittt in ^oi^ 'i atn ir*b 
am nnoa ab itt^D -nttiM in piitbi mat ©im niannb •pbw 
sip miob aba b** mnsmai Kttinb mpin mi in ao^tt 
nrwi wa »»in i"a • trt w*a annpn pa b3# mb nwi 
Kin nos iwo in rnttm "pin^n ansia pb'wn a^in b^stt 
mittai mna *bJ# amsntti anna mm attiib mpm ababia 
: iw DWP nnna ab ^«i sin n©*tt nxm ribna pa ^b itta • anab 

(36) p. 118. 

T. Sanh. XIII. 4. 5.:— nittIK "WW! plJQ b81©^ ^TB1£> 

inabi Bim ib* d*w nn "parwi rami pw pirn dbi*n 
y*wi inabis Damn sp»a pun nbn fniESfl mn nwp ow 
'a© n^isn *by\ men nnn imrstti pr« miT mini i*>» 
uk Di^b d^is iban man nnn i&a w "o trwi brrtfcn 
■povnpwi miiottm pitti»ttm p^ttn bna : mans ^i ua» n©i* 
s^nsn n^nnn iisdei nn^i tama p»inwi nuna musvt 
•orwi a»n«n n^ni^ ^iiD cmn ra iwanm stsrno tp ton 
emaKi rfews tarn bwa omm iut&b^i D^rni po omn^n 
D^wapn a^tussn ^i^sn isii uiem w mm ^inb nn parmn 
■wa bDb iixn m nnsn xb wm rrmn »b on^bin ^d ^ 
pb oti ^ bi»» nibab dusi w pia pnu vm nba bi«© 
'3» oiptin nta xbs bmr pin ib biiT^ w binta nmi^ teton 
jD^biy ^nnob hdb *|b bmr in^a ^msn ma 

The above occurs in b. R. ha. Sh. 17 a almost in the same words. 


(37) p. 125. 

j. Ber. 9 C :— 2i3Dtt TWWH Kmi^n *Wp XB "jTdpn bKIE© 

r*p D^sn W* Kb n^b fn^a 'jwb* :pp«a ito nsnon d"ht 

(38) p. 125. 

b. Ber. 28 b . 29 a :— tVlD-Q rt** -VHOfi ^bipsn 'pyE© n"n 
DibD t^EDnb yi onb iek n^n -non b* bKibfc> pn ^3fib 
ropm iii:pn bKiE© -je? swan ro-Q ipnb *tw oik »i 
imbsn Kbi m*E rfttn ta^ra nn sppttm nnD© mnK nDttb 
nis-n ban n*o ffi tbk mw nn n^Km inib^n Kb wok 
Kta& )sw«n ima pbw mhm nmnn ini» i*yts pa jte 
: rra rin KEb^n nrrtA napn wm ptspn buna© ^kb mn fnp 

(39) p. 128. 

T. Sotah. XIII. 4.:— yiWflP wwo wroa wik Kin 5|K 
•pK^o ipyi «pab ke* HWpl Kbttpb "W OH l Kainb bK^Etfii 

:p£K ma-iK pttbai kdi *nnK JW 

(40) p. 129. 

j. Sotah 24^, Same as (39) except that after the words 
ftOR tl^TM IWbai, there follows ; 1£K ntt im *bl 

(41) p. 129. b Sotah 48 b , same as (39). 

(42) p. 129. b Sanh. ll a same as (39). 

(43) p. 136- 

T. Ber. III. 25:— 1X6 DTQDn WOKE tTOHl tTtVP t W OO 

b»a awo bto bbiD a^bK « rb lira© rtrbw nnw mitra 
•ntsK a*n abim-p b«a tyi bn a^pr b©a b*nji b«n ewr* 

:«r* pa**b V5K 

(44) p. 136. 

j. Ber. IV. 3. (8 a ):- M *ntt D1K fj nttK^ DK W*l Y'K 

in k"t n^nn rwa twaan i*np to jwa b© ib man t^k 
tiftm b"K awi -nnsn bK ainam w» nn wp W *i 


p*«i b»i a^apr b*n firm ftism owa b»i own b© bbis 

(45) p. 137. 

T. Hull. II. 24.:— mana 'nan by osnafc wba "ft m&yta 
pioy^ TmfcD ipr ritttti irna * -nan Jrtb «oab irm "torn 
nfctf ab© fittth ima linos ^by f*i paw ib nfca ibbn ovinia 
■iawfemw b>inn ib is* onavM it** i*a aba fwe «bi ib aba 
ibbn n^imn ta^yra ibbn in^on© i©jdx imaa *p ^a 5j» ^by 
osna© nydstt n-ri raran pa idsaiBDi trap rem ■nn own 
twi anipy i oasa bnp *i itanab wrt rooaM rrana "nan by 
"iti« tfDK ib taw ns^tt rjna pn «£© nm fatf ieik 1 ib 
trcoan ibk twn two b» in ib ies pawi pa trm xnv ib 
^nasia i-n^s bo ^msio^s ^brm vrai nna dys ^rnoiti 
n tt c a p w ditro hwa b» nm n^ai jraoo ia:a trw nipy 
pmn rmc\ i-oi by irw» nia^a *nm by TO&wri , «bm 
nb^n d^bbn dw ^ wra nn& ba n-ipn bin isrt rr»by» 
pai Tiy^n pa mm dia asr dbiyb toi« -wba n mra w 

:wbb nann 

(46) p. 138. 

b. A. Zar. I6 b . I7 a : ai-nab mibyn nwob K"n osnaiTD Vn 
fiibtas d*nn-D pw ishede ipr Tnan vf« ib -nan pri 
wia »in i^by ywxn mix iinon pm ^by pa*a ib to* ibbn 
wttam b^in ib -yok D^vas to« tod aba nfca ab rtn 
idnab ibsa i*n^abn loasa in^nb 'xn»D nnx iitjs own ytep 
-jna nai -iaib ^tnn w y"n ib nta» Twnan T*? ^P ^ 
7Tb bO rw* ket& mi ib n^x nittx ib nia» ^armaib* n^^ 
nna dys ^arrotn an^py ib tea [ms^b] nosinD i^byi tiem 
■nnibWD] inx [tr»] ^waiai wj b* p^byn piM ibn^a m^n 
dDniinn ninD ^b nti« itt« k^dd ^bd »i» mpy^i [* r .iii a >i w» 
Kbi 5i"Db o"Dni i^^n mizjyb imj 'iSn nsir prm aonn nth 
nsir pinna [^niiin w*] iaw* *p 4 "nan dibD ib ttwn 
iDb^ nsiat:n dipfcb lie nsi3dn diptiti law nsir pn« tn n$np 


trtra ninD« ns b* w6*i r ra rt inotnD nr *ti b* mm w»ti 
: trm it nrrfe nns ba nipn bai rwt: •» inn rrttta pmn 

[ ] add. cod. Monac. teste Rabbnowicz. 
(47) p. 139. 

Qoh. r. on I. 8. p. 4 a :— nair "pntf a^on ab DDrmro niro 
pnab i^iica pipb "4 ifctf ^tid** lb MrTOMl in n£ lbs -rrmi 
iro pi ntt2i ^b ies nnn nirtfi na $"m ib ^rmsa tt» 
nsbn ^ee n£b?im r™« nsi * ■'mas maos tdi rmtnifc 

[hiatus in printed text] *>b 1£S ^-Qlb Wnn© naitt |TO n?Eb 

prm i*i nsnp n3iT lanatt ■o '3© lati naiibi isn namia 
Dinb ^n©3Dn3 inn irna bn mirb pioniD i»yi law rent 

(48) p. 146. 

b. Shabb. H6 a - b : n^nna w4k Sam inn^m D*» KfciS 
b^pE mrh n^tronM «aioibia Kinn nin ^in b^b£* pm 
annrr *wi© rrt »b^v» m* ^mnab tto *nmi& bnptt abi ke© 
■raa i»3 wi ^oaaa * xbvtri mspm nib man mqpi 5mn 
ran pa b"a nwn Kb atms am Diptm ]b n^ns b"« ivibs inb 
arenas nswnw n«£i xn^tx mbtttnitf iiD*itf£ iwban 
b^y tw inab pmn anna amni am rra awi *Trba ii*i 
nm otw aiscn wVKh n^s© mb ies amb aian m n^b 
nrrwYm by wiab abi 'twin toot ar.^na pa nna^b Kb «dk 
mb nnfca nmi ab »mn am Dipaa nm n^nDi wr« niDOT 
ivanxh tosh ai^n ana b*ob£3> pi b"a Rantta fWb iins 

* Cod. Oxford, Rabbinowicz. 

(49) p. 155. 

T. Shabb. XIII. 5. pftK 1^2£ p* pana 113DD1 DWban 

binn fcu ib^ban w 'i in^rrrawi ]n pahpto in , p£>i©3 Kbx 
nsp« T*fiD 'i itttf iK«n nK sp^W Hftth rYraran n« nip 
quin ib*tt ininiiDT^i in isii© r»«J ii^b ixin^ d»» ^:n n« 
*T TW D pvab D3DD idixi nir mm* n^nb imddm ^inx cirn 


f*m\ ima f*tm ttm ia piaini ima proa p* n 6 * wra* 

"i iek "pfxsfl raft nnnam nbin -ipiki -naiK mrorr BH4sft in 
•»»» Dipfcfi TOR irittKb OW pn D ^tt tfWi bk n^ai bK*ttc 
nK3pi nn^K pb^E© |Wb "nan wan b* nnw RtUpa nran 
inm© 2 nam nan nnK b* DW» tarroKb ban»i fa nnnrn 
ksek •* "pasM irfth will w on arrtiri pwdtki jn 
dtbdi ^b f*i '1Kb D*>nK3© fiK3© mbnn tstaipriK TTOttpwn 
■wa Kb iniK pb^a pit td np^bin ^s>& piK pb$rg p*» 
^ptwah nan bDE Kbi D^n TOD Kbi (rrttton 

1 Cod. Vienna, and b Shabb. 116a. 2 Cod. Vienna. 

(50) p. 156. j. Shabb. 15 c almost the same words. 

(51) p. 156. b. Shabb. 116 a almost the same words. 

(52) p. 157. 

b. Gittin 45 b :— TO b* If^ ^IBK nnb tfTTO 5H rrt nEK 

n"o nDtt see rnpib "pwi "naa k* pnpib pin Kin "jn^i 
pans nn iek n»b k^i ta piip D^nnin -m* -pn K*d» 

K2E3 W D^nDlD T3t* IllTD Sn^ pfc mro© JTVin "ISO pt3p3 

nb •naan ot nb ■nEK n^bsco mi* -nn kses w ptt to 

rem qn»^ k-jh ^n D^nnm mi* mro© n-nn -iso in pup 

jljn awp «b in p-rtp Tt« awi rav» Tro 

(53) p. 160. 

T. Jadaim II 13:— niKtitttt pK py»tt 'HBOI DWbafi 

pK Tb^Ki i*Dtj mro3i& di-bdo bsi an^o p *n£>o twn ™ 

D^Tfi mk putswa 

(54) p. 161. 

b. Shabb. ii6 a :— innK 'to pan nn qoi*» nn nwo ?*a 
pb^xti p* ik np^b-in ^3£>b piK pb^sE fro* tn *nfio W 
itw ■ab p» bm pr»n» "tob bva Kb m n*TO r#fl iKbi p» 
ta M tj nib • rrt in^K bvK pnan ^nb b^K Kb *t*d ^nb bKi^c 
^b »i»pi wrma kd^k irsto Kbpi mb n^K p»»n» ^nb IW Kb 


abi kdk wots to» cioy* -in iti ^b ^©p rrron rmpj^b 2 

■Hp two w rwobb va b*w *nn ast^r **»wa wcnott 

: fl** yw n^b "Hp pn^ *i prta fttl rrt 

1 Cod. Monac. pro N3^b. 2 Cod. Monac. pro rrnpS^a. 

(55) p. 165. 

b. Shabb. 152 a :— »b tt"E OTtfl p Jttim *4 ID^p b"a 

•pnsi «b im&3 y*vb* wino abn nits b"a itok iab rv*n» 

(56) p. 165. 

b. A. Zar. 17 b :— 11* ntt» pWW "Si mfltf Kb tD"fc b"a 

jo^bjpa *gwi ft kee 15$ antral wri pt 

(57) p. 165. 

b. Erub. 79 b . 80 a :— bD nn -»£« DfiO mEtf KVi 1t^ 

•pso n^a baratn n^nin^Bti inarm p»i ran* p t tyi B dviapte 
:dt»» Di^n mnb imrn *tnx* w jw»b *itri w ■naam 

(58) p. 171. 

b. A. Zar. 6 a (ib. 7 b ):— to* nsnttl -Q KS^blnn m TOTl 
:-noa abisb bwm4 , i ^nn "na-tb "TOIS tffi btfifctt 

(59) p. 171. 

b. Taan. 27 b :— TOtTi 1113 W fWltt TO **b TOE an*a 

: D^-iMn wia pni^ 'n tok ab d"s raw thuo jib** toed rp 

(60) p. 173. 

T. B. Mez. II. 33:— Kb rr«fcwi ftpi flora QWiSH d^wi 
abi "p-miti rTniown D^-rowtim i^an pr-nt abi pbtfB 

: fini 

(61) p. 173. 

b. A. Zar. 26 a - b : *13OTl pW tTH "**p IfDK W "Wl 

Twan baa fi*rai Kbi plana Kb npi nana wn d^did 
bsb mv ^k Vk piw Kbi y*mm w yttrium rvmoiam 



■jkde ^ao "p-mra rai maa nan nanan na tva-ib *pna riT^a 
naian i«d pna*>nb rnb^os bam naian pes mb ^ibi naia 
-rama bw fm ownb mb^ra bDia -mop DW6 mb'oa bsna 
-ptj owrib naia "pna^nb toa in aawi ana nn ^bs nana 
•dwi nr T»n w« aba -ram ^ D^an fe *■** naa -im *nn 
ht ■nn inx trim na -ina w» bna ^i^ti d^did ^ba 
bwrt vn ttrtrt w ^npi ain onwfci «Dn am Wfla 

tttrwan awa 

(62) p. 177. 

T. Hull. II. 20. 21: TO SiaMTS irvia ^ TO axaSE 1C1 

WQ D^na ^nir m»n nr "nn t m * tm **Nrt ni&o -noa *pan 
yrtwra i ids p eowi **P ri*> ins r* "p* 5 " 1 ra^n© n&MrtJ 
lim pb y naroa f* : pros* jmai pwwp "nsp Jim** rbna 
na i^Tob pm pb ■parte T^ I™ 3 p*W f<w pa "pnpib 
: rnwo wi abi fitna *wn ab pa painr-ia pai rmi ftm 

[Note. Here follow the stories of Elazar ben Dama who 
wished to be healed by Jacob of Chephar Sama, a Min, and 
of R. Eliezer's arrest on the charge of Minuth; see above 

n 08 28, 45.] 

(63) p. 178. 

b. Hull. I3 b :— ttnmr ribas o^nDis tiv ntnn© na naa 
maian p^a "P* *™a "& W ">*** 1*™ ^n ^^ ^ n V* **a© 
rrnDiD ^-m* mi "pa aa'w aD'w pmap am kefd i-nv 
c-iD3 ■pn'n n"a ana -a a^n "i "iaa- an 'd nb -qo wn 
p^mna ansa aba p D'ODia n-ra* 'nwb pab nsinn© 
maiaa "pta pa P n - ^ "»*** wra -a Qtm nn -raa p*r»a 
ba-i©*>- "pa ™^n© anion nt^nfcb aa^a ^aab D^aw iiai* 
bamm an©n fnTftfe aba a^na D^aois -ni*- a-noa maa 

:a^na oiaaia ini^i y*r»ttb 

(64) p. 181. 

j. Sanh. 29°:— D^W 1W3t? 1^ baitt?^ iMi ab prTfi T'a 

ba f^« ■*« ^bi» ma p atma na :n^^a b« mn^D ^n-iai 


•pa irmrt *tt b8 #l a itto n©» Qi-mttn n^a b8 ban© 1 * *aa 
onininxi man ^n i-nta n©8 B*nPtnan cm 8b8 pta 3*na 

:nrn Di\n -# ^n i*©5 

(65) p. 182. 

b. A. Zar. I7 a :— mpn b8i nis^fc ir "pvi n^b** prnn 
it ^d-ii mb*tt pmn "maKi 8^81 ni©nn it nn^n nns ba 
n-i iatt nsani ww it nn^n nns b8 nnpn b«i rwum tram 
nvo rra "»«tt mw nan? pnatt ^n pn-n nitt8 *nn8 8-ion 
-itt83© ifoit) **rt cponb n-o©3© hfltt bD 8-jonm -iE8i 8ion 
1*111 ma an arbsi T&nb ^nni ^b ins 8b "jDinxi yftM tNftn 
©*>8 '83© -nbn n^n* vftj b© m*np 8b8 mm mo8 8b ms 
m« nm ■$ »bi* tunc* nibab innpn 8b im 18© bD b8 ©i» 
Wi "08 nb ■n^ai v t*T "08 nmn«b inb p©3£ mn ah *ott 
7b di©e iiD8 «iab*n m^p iftv iE8i mfmi rt^rn 8^b*n 
ma m© npibsb mpn 8b mshsh mno -nno irwa fhaw "7b 
nipsns© m3n m© bip 8npi? -i* iti* an an ^8£ an an 
nwa ttot ^i 8an 8nn nrn abvn mwari Dsn^E 
wrw bip 8api* ta to* 8-ion an n*8 vnan 8d^8 nrwnm 
nTn a!wa rmtron mpjns© msa m© ->b i#an irtpim np*i2 
nn8t3 w o^n mmia ^©*> 8bi "pan©^ 8b n^8a bD 8an 8an 
n^n mn-na iw 8b law* Dtfi p"n law p 1 ^ in© 8b© 
an n^iapb ">8n8-j 8^nn am n^fc FWW ©man ban vnwzb 
bran nsa^a ppn nsn nn©3? nibpn© nbp n^b mE8i 8ion 
nip nnti«pitt nntt 8bi wmo nb m-it: 8ion m nb npn 
i^b© 8-nn 8b-j 8inn nn 8^n np WWi bbr« nn©y nibpa© 
8^nn «ni 8b n-i^n^^ ^8 trowa "nasi 8d^8 nr« 8b n^tnsi 
nn»i 8miiT nb rniT n"n b"8i 8-on an wnp ^8n8i 
8b n-psjw nn ^*in ^^ msw bbDtt rnbpn© nbp r max pTti 

msi ^mrttn p 8"i by i^b? v«oi« irwn 

bip nn nn:^ mia©3 nm^© t» rroaa n^ai i^-a i^i i©8n 
nn^n^n 8Dn Mm 8nn Dbi^n ^nb ftfira iwiTfri p 8"n mom 
*an nrn r^i twnaa i^ra nn p^i8- p^a « onn smn arm 



nnK n*©n ifcbi* wip «*»i d^t» nasn iabi* nsip ©*• i£Ki 
•pmp© KbK piK pbnptt© nm©n ^b?nb p*i Kb W niaKi 

j*wi tan imK 

(66) p. 188. 

Qoh. r. I. 8.:— wft* 1 b2K fiKn© nnK n©an n©*E 
mtt» fW* na ima nb "to* ^mp W * ni£K n^Mnnb 
vn» nbnpi *»w *i bsK nsbn nn qra iron , wo iiapn iaa 
nana© pa Dnb tb« n-ipE nnKi pni£ w6» *i i^Tttbn ib 
d»i paw «b man bn ainm obisb rr»n ra* T?»wjb nwn 

sarin ninniK iaw^ Kb imtn 

(67) p. 191. 

Shem. r. XIX 4. p. 36 d :— DTO D^binfcn bK1©^ pK© 

d^toik birwi wri awon w? Kb© i-d n^nn *i iek tarrtb 
n©i* nn M pn n& aarrab pw ^a p* pbina iidki b^ain 
W nb© nfcas© Bomb pTtti Dm "jfibn* frrai ^abfc nb©E 
ann mibn nbnsb rami aarrw pwi win bbn YiaibM 
:pm *a ms maw iin onia rombi st* nnms 

(68) p. 192. 

Bamm. r. XVIII. 17. p. 75 d :— Wn iW* Wt* IT^ba l"a 

pun mnn mm pn abia Kin© rrob pan W nth jna 
7inn mn© pnn inia b^nnn ana 1 * mab ann o»a pnh tt*n 
7D pn b© hW inia rr*i in ban W* am pimn fma 
niin 13a i©25© s"*a nbnintt ms£ inn to Kb baimnai arfi 
jonnpn aiiran misn in *irt inbnro tti 

(69) p. 193. 

j. Sanh. 27 d pD -iaa in iT*b inn pnii inn • a ny fran 
'11 irsba *3i paai pbia n»»i pn taa nnm aiao pa i^ai 
nnK raamr&a pha aisna b© n^nb nt* in pro in baitt© 
n* b* cik pn ab£ Kin© mnb fan l y« ibin itititm p^ 

jK^bns sNrna Kin rftttri ksixj jh« nwd rrt 'n^a jhk- 


(70) p. 195. 

Siphri. § 115. p. 35 a :— tWtt IT DDllb +*m TtWl »bl 

'use ir»n ii&k nttitn na ttftwa i» *»3» armi ibme "pyi 
jnvibai rw Tbiani rm'' DTtfa nib onnm 

(71) p. 196. 

Siphri. § 320. p. 137 b :— pi 'p^ttfi lb» DTODtt blD 1130 

:D^nba pa iibi bis ies ieik am 

(72) p. 196. 

Vajiqr. r. § 28. 1. p. 40 c - d :— Ittpl *6 p pfciaa 1 IttK 

tusk nwia lib bwq on© p*nan in ixsee nbnp iso rtai 
n*o lib p^t m -rnnb^i wo rra« i&ib rftito -nan n^n in 
nEbtn oi^y *nnai nuib ■nwi ininn abi it>» nm "prnnm 
Vi rrt win mrvm aba »pwf naian pS wo ibm ie» 
es^ei o^nban law nba bi by 13 yn itt»» p*o pn rrti 
iso n»b ittpi ^tiro ia bai»» '1 iiaa nfcbtf rat hfe* ma* 
n^n *p iiek nwo isb anaii on© d^w in i»»a» nbnp 
rmn bw nb^yi cm bi^ di*6 jw rna itrib th* nab© 
si* b*w* i^n pww b*y ban iiaa ** mean Ytm y£«fci 
fctp ban aba rwni »m «h Kin tfmw nun b» nb^yi 
J biyna nun bfc ib^yi bis !m WW mn ib^yi 

(73) p. 198. 

b. Sank 38 b :— ptt pair*! D18 11 ltt« HTW 11 ltt» 

rna "jk W»* ib taitri w*n bat n^nba 'n aip^i iw&» n^n 

i'Wi 71b 

(74) p. 199. 

M. Meg. IV. 8. 9 cf. M. Ber. V. 3:— i»b 1115? V* WttW 

sirr* qM iar» tnn biDoi my «b 'o^ibi &|* pares* raw 
by rans nisia m pm nsio nbiay inbsn rrtWtn niy »b 
rna by nsnsi inr i^t rtttnan 711 it t*i it od by i» in«o 

rwmi Tii it *n ib« ibpana 


fwn ww t*i ip b* m^ian ttt 1? **i d^ib TEW iwww 
j*tti im» pp*Wfi D^-nti d'hib TtstD w nit: b*i 

(75) p. 204. 

j. Ber. 9 C (v. 4):— ina •jiatT* n)D p rtW Wl an** W 

•pb^ttn "pna • nana in nmn iirwn nnp in na* to snara 
tcwi 'ib» *6 p *»w tn ai&a p^o w * -tea p»» trt 
• yten ^an nDi»« * wk TmnE ym r»wa ttb© d^™ nwrw 
ysatti D^n^n mma iia* ab« w fih win pwma pa bsb 
rmri p» tati r» -Dbttrvi woi anr 

(76) p. 207. 

M. Sotah. IX. 15:— rnapya ■ w«* bran w£» w 

: "iai rtf^ft i&nn rrDbwri awo^ MBann iwnwa 

(77) p. 210. 

j. Nedar. 38 a :— Wirt TO* W Win W DttQ tfntf W 

©iipm aiab iwb p* pa aipi-on a* a»*i wba 5no*b 
a«i n»3D maun as wsra na dee ur>*wi rms rm iro 

tfbtf D^DID "pm '** D*0 TTHW BOT *7Dp BTO OWE fQ 

:in abisb n^aaiaa n^ain ip-ntti itt« nan n*a aipiis 

(78) p. 211. 

Qoh. r. on I 8. p. 4 b :— minb bra row 'n ina p wan 
anat&a aton a^ai mm ■pban nbfc ■we mb pwi sins -©a 
•W»tfi jr© b"a win nwo iiby arm ma-an row frtoab bra 
nna baiim »*T»a •n© bw nx mb »*i»-i mnm aian p 

:m*bra pan wi baab pan p mb 

(79) p. 215. 

Qoh. r. on! 8 (p. 4 b ):— ■ jwaab ^wabn fg in phji jrw fr. l 
f*ito» p smna bwo pub* -niwt»» p -d* mnrom bw 
mm labiab W ma o*o liaina bwi ^ffii a^na p »bi mb 
anon bitia wtnn ^ni mb ftem imrtt ^nis ywri ms 


jfirww p Jib iek nna na^na Deploy faanan i?n anba *nnb 
wjha b^n ^b-m nmna yw p abi rrt pna* "p™ >rwn 

-ntai y-inb ataisi iy mnna "pma ywvn rn& mm '*iyi d'o 
r.bDno^ I6i roan abi 7*3*6 anbai bva irw 1 "pisa •■pmsan 
*pna rnnfi pirn n* p -im** p rtaraw rwn ibisn p 

:pro mis min 

(80) p. 218. 

Qoh. r. on I. 8:— B*>pE*n£ yW3tl Y*1 KOlpa p mW '"I 

by "jib tq» -a^msi imx pfctftt a^Mi inia a^baiE W toy 
man nan ©a "^ bm pr^a -paya "pri* "pa^ta pna pta 
-y pmnifc y»n pb nsa mrri oaiipa nrnam rvrra yas ittf 

inia by ibbsnni xb pta byi ffc tdk rraai ^jm pi l p** , o 
ban rtnbantai n^aita s^aaa nabB nmm& rann nma San OTtti 

: ytanto nabia t»iw 

(81) p. 219. 

Qoh. r. VII. 26 p. 21 d :— MOT$J m'np nn& py pl "V"H 1 

nr aita x H i vrtGB nso »i« aipy^ nr ataim -iryba 1 nr nit: 
nr aita a"i aiaao -isa fl^a aipy nr msttm a^i p "iryba 
nr ait: a"-r nma -i&d « iba nm y©im 1 ina p nwi 
jit ataim ina 'n m ana a"i awon iba msnm aoipa p nw 
jjrtrta nr ataim y©im *m iry^ba i nr ait: a"i i-pBbn 

(82) p. 221. 

b. Hagg. 5 b :— VQT\ ntSK KOT1 DI^O ^3D -WlO» inon *oaai 

an ia naia Dibna ama ^a& imnontt ^s by 3a na"pn toa 
p ww 'i -pmoD *n bsai 'wt> ia^by smtaa rp -ma qoii 
wviran k& wna amn rrt ^in» -io^p ^a i»p mn n^aan 
'nb id^p n^b itiK na^by mica rr* n^b ^n» rrwa rr*ub rwa 
»a^i rwna WW6 m-to ' Wim ar i «»y lb ^n» vm ycm^ 
n^nje > *ma M8to ainnb n^b in^x la^by n^itaa it rrt xa^nta 
ibrf »b ib *w» imwi nwa (n^sb) rrnfc ■ w nr imni K^y n^b 


asbtt ^ttp w annttn tfb lima i«ti *t abi anna i-nast 
™» rran p mrp vn rr»tw ams ap * imbtopi imp&a 
matt fis* man onb it* Juttw njp jb* *iw*i ikb pan rrt 

maia b» Dnfcnn nmos B'tttt ns* mn»» ft*a Drnann nmoa 

: abi*ri 
(83) p. 226. 

b. Emb. ioi a : — man p sww ^mb *wn] awi b"K 

^npi n^ob bw *W rrt n£« piro Kilo "da a*»nm nap-in 
ibbn D^pimn deo pinn DniD *»»ti »b«i tomato nv a^nm 
ami: in« "in i^b* "paiya ttt& d-oib p rtrrowi by i^tt 
tj "pi* na wn top **» earnib Dv*nn na "pp-irmt? p-ra 
: "fti taw ana* iryi r r i roirw Q^s Tfiimsi bra d^»k 73np 

(84) p. 228. 

Shem. r. XXX. 9. p. 53 c - d :— Sttim ID b^btta pin fitttttt 

wn "pa de> wm TOib inbnfc sn^p? *ti smr* p » k tl 
rnwb ainrotb wik aim rms nna »in» mi -irann nn"pn b» 
in» in» pti de mi -p i^« nn"pm Dibs ntw ira «im 
■ro» D^nba srntta sb nrn aba wnm "p« Dnb n*a ik^e 
■pa Dbi*n» wi ib 1113^ nn©n tiK ieee ir» n»b tow 
owbiwi ib ytb» p b"s nnrcn wsn ^inn bDbtsb ^oi dik 
ib^s«i maa yn^n bn ab£ n^«3® nn"pfi bE w*n D^mnnm 
n^nn ib iieh p b tt » irrop «bia btabtMa i^a srva* nm* Qis 

:*qk aba pan nai oifc»n n» abrt 

(85) p. 231. 

b. Sanh. 90 b :— ©UpTO "p^£ bfcObtt* pi rw "py»tt lb»» 

pn Dwasn pi minn p nnb -i^k n^ma wra Kin 71m 
rwn b« 'n -uaaoi n^nsi nmnn p laiatt ibn^p »bi diainDn 
nsn nrn o^n Dpi K^b^i ib in^K Dpi Trims d^ aaw i^n 
iaaio 135-11 wpsi iiiaipi ^nbna •jinta 1W a^nDi tfwaan p 
rrmw wra iw*ni b*wi o^iem f i«i Tbta rmni bD ^ wt 
D^ntD^b ^inb 7bin aitan i^d ^dhi n^nsi D^ainsn p b^pmi 
:Ktib5?n nwiM? n»nnia i»mi Kttb^ii B^wn *»md» aan 


(86) p. 235. 

b. Jebam. 102 b :— fbm WOSP *** K^£ MM >rt IKK 

Kbi ti n* Epab **■! tnpoai WKaa awi nwfi ma tfb 

era fin Dnb fin n^ro ^ rraw rrt itttt aroa pbn ikwt 

: rro tm k©«e "n^B j*rtn nb i*brn nw "Wfrt a* 1 *^ 

(87) p. 237. 

b. Ber. 10 a :— JTip* "tfl a^fO K^-Ob K^E KWl nb 1£K 

rwob yw *iw mb mM w mb^ Kbi nicia rnS 1 * Kb 
i«tt aba 'n n£K nbi*a isafla nnn'M xa ow ia a^roi Knpi 
rrtfi »b» mp* ni&Kb mrw b*rw noaa w rrfr" Kb mp* 

iWrtfi dsrrob n^a 

(88) p. 239. 

b. Hull 87 a :— Kna Kb ram mi ^ *arb k^e Kinn b"K 
*?oi ffnn ns^ nan ^ a^-j tfnn -^ Kb mi k-d» to mn 
rrt i»» ibid maa* 'n K-ipi j-rsnob b^» nemo rrt tbK m-i 
nbn w aw Knaw ^b m\ mm >»y» Knbn nam ^b oipa 
KnnK ^Kp aero rrt iiek TW va Kp rem ■* anwia jw 
■rtaiK ^k niais nvYflsa w ib -iek *w «n woa wi iek 
■won© ^pin ib toh rwi wn p bssi ^ik rawn two Kb *jb 
nriK nana b© did b"K wi ibaK© nnKb pi * n^K ^bSK 
^k nana bio did ib -iEK btaia nnK ownr Di*niK ik nmti 
D^ainr nnsa-iK mtP nana b» did mtjin bip na nnsi nnw 
■p-npi wi ^b™ pa rms»fc nmKb rw -pii* pn*i 'n to« 

jcoarnb na nn&ttti nniK 

(89) p. 245. 

b. Sanh. 38 b :— Wi 'na bK*£tn 'lb K^tt Mm H* "YaK 

inana n nKtt tan wHbbdi nnia^ byi diio by TitMan 'm a^ns 
torn aewn rrt nornrw ksk ^pzw oniD Kinn b"K rrt w»b 
KbK rrt vai ^»3 ^^b ^«3 ^bip iana» nbsi my TOfi ^b 
kh lb KDti b"K wi Knp wm *Ba KDn ^n Kip vn»i3 


(90) p. 247. 

b. Pesah. 87 b :— WiS) npll arthffl ^att WV*m *1 tea 

*d*W nwarr Tab i-ihdib banana na"pn nw np-js banana 
ids a^na idpwq p^ia "pa itoon wd a^a mwi b"a-i 
^»- stoa pa isawK pa ibai *tti de atn liwin n»« ^2 
bWD ina TEbn Tb bst:^ Ufnri lb -tea »HWifl lab piajfrp abn 
iribia pban ro*n "Wi w»W abi oiwa ¥* wdmi *i mb 
naa ansnap aniabtt iab **$ was »dw ^a£ "d*o» man* 
: ppbo lew p*t& ana to aa* rrt 

(91) p. 250. 

b. Joma 56 b . 57a-.— 1*0 anttfi VGm ** IBmj KW! ttb 1tt» 

a^na nxs nn an tth n£a rrtwa fina^ia a^nai fina ywm 
ns-o© jntttt )trto xao ib^aa Dnattit: Tina ona pWrt TO 

(92) p. 251. 

b. Gitt 57 a :— wipima ^-vip© »a^an wi lona ainn *tt:a 
na pnma iw pa nr *»as to na a^na ias pa rrt "112a 
■ps© ftitai anm mb* pattm© pra banttn p» qa "n»a 

: jntfl mb* ■pntm 

(93) p. 253. 

Ber. r. § 82. p. I55 b :— rrrap wvnA 71*30 napni bm ntttil 
ana pan^ tin jwt» wi ikf ^a*i dnb tv*a a^n nnsa fna 
abm *ai i-we d^n ^naba a^nai ^aa wba© wna ainrr 
fro napni a^nai mw» biaaa bm n-napi •ptna biaaa nibs 
^an b"a win :poa ^a^ va nn-isa onb n^a awi nn-isa 
biaaa dto* 'a nasfci bm rmap d* ■nwtt m*n ^naba iti» 
Twaa biaao i-tob wn ^naba itDsn n^ai nabsa "pE^a 
:*pm ^m bm n-iiap d* dim* 'a naiftai nsbsa 

(94) p. 255. 

j. Ber. i2 d . I3 a :— niniba nrco ^abtt© "i na iba© jwon 
Dia na iba»i lab pbaw ana ibi pb -i^a Dbi*n na ^.ana 


mb* is-d i®« tn d^ies-i EFirt sd bisrc ^ '3» iittsin 
g-js D\nbs sin -iibs BWi pft sbs isd ama rs psn b* dis 
*an p* -itis D*>nbs ihfii rrosin avem rrt litis psn b* 
lips© oipti bD ^sbtit? *i *»* sin sbs antD "pat nmn una 
dis nwa men ps nti mis ibstn 11m Tfaa nm©n fOTBH 
■jsn nmn "ps Gtibsn aisn ns una*] jrtb itis iDmitiin imtibsn 
nnmi ibsb tnnftn * ttb* itibsn Di^n ns arrtu ma*] aba 
i£#n it] sins dis m?Eb pnb itis n^ttti nns nti lib nspn 
iDmitiin wrtsa f*m [?isnti] oisti Disn pa nsma mtti 
sbn imajbb s"s irnsn sbn mwwi *"*] n»j<n sbn tnsb s"s 
n^nbs bs 'n ambs bs nmm pn nti mix ibstn pmi htftrc 
mi sin aba -j»d aina f»» DWV on pb itis rm sin 'n 
n^ttti nns nti 13b nspn nim ibsb *i wtahn * TttH mro 
oimzrus ioip oinbioa tori ©sisn ins M p«ib» pb itis 
ps sipii ia*n 'n ombs bs amm ima vr* ibs»i nm 
mp*i t^i sbs nmn ps isn mo isipii ran *&\ pb itis 
itis ai©ti nns nti isbi nips nim ibsb iai witibn * rfl» 
iim papisms pta pstiis itisi ttftfia ins D« pttbE pb 
ni»np pb itis sin Di©np ambs in amm inti mis ibsan 
i^iitibn ib litis sin ssp bs sin sbs ^sd n^ro ps ntin 
»np pnt^ w -itis a^»ti nns nti isbi mpz rwrn ibsb ^nn 
wnpa iDm nn"pn sns ^i em pi^ h itisi ntcnp wq bDn 
D^nbs rwnpa wnr riD^inn yiynpa lawi ntrnpa i-iim 
iDibxn *jDm ©Tipa o\nbs rnrnpa syn n©npa n^isi s-iid 
b^ n©^ D^nbs nwiipa inciti tnipn ^bti *» 'i^bn ntrnpa 
nvnpa wvr ns^©n ■o'n D^nbs rtfnpa rwn i»ip «od 
TWtt nDitiD to wnpa TW^ >mp .wip smr ns 'n 5|«?n 
n»s bn> ^a ^ti a*»«Di ps inti mis ibs»i nm »iipa 
nn^bs la^sip ban ismbs 'ns pb ton i^bs D^imp D^nbs ib 
w i^i^tibn ib litis i^bs i^sip ban sbs ^sd a^ro ps 
^^ti b^a mip pb itis n^©ti nns nti vb nspn rwn ibsb 



(95) p. 265, 304. 

Pesiqta. r. XXL p. 100 b . 101 a : — dS ana -Q S^n h *H3S 

san sin sds n^b ioti ii^s d^nbs jnn nrren ira 7b -ras^ 
s-d Tb ^as^ ds sns *o **n *n -ies s"-; — "wi sin sds 
n^nn ^S nai d^sn d^s n* S^S "JI^S d\nbs inn WffOfi 

:dD£* 'n im sbs ^sd 

(96) p. 266. 

b. A. Zar. 4 a :— dis-j snso n-Q web inns *i inb nnntttt 
tum* wow in *w tw no^rn son-ia rrt ipa» sin bna 

upas p by n*nsn tmttm bD£ wr» dnns p-i n^nn n^b 
n^b p^o£ nnsma awo n^b rtnri i»ti kww bn ns dn^b* 
spi nnsitn smo h*4 Ttn *f»fc sbi inb -i£s sbi p^nte^s 
irvnttna wtti* inb ies m^nn©s inns in sns rrt "WXtJ 
■jb ittnft rn sbi sin bra disi ib nn*s sbi rrt nm n^b 
•na ^snpn ^ssnn inb ■mtsm w» inb -itts spies m »«w» 
pwatti ps inb tos jirwrn "pns » # t n^b nfcs inb nt» 
»»* rr»b vnaa w«i sb w* pw fmott jaw tdim 
rmtm disb mm imn n»b bans dDb bittnaa inb ies ns f> 
oflwa tana 12^13 *tm mms i»3iw -insi mms -ins s"Dn m 

: tins nnn mwa *nw isdie 

(97) p. 270. 

Ber. r. XXV. 1. p. 55 c :— 11ES inns imb ibStt 'pomp^S 

mtae lb ma» n*b onb ntts ^lanb wwa i^siia iss -pa lb 
f«m b*£ 73ns ns npib 'n di^n ia ibnb m&sii nmpb i»d 
•jbnb toaoi nn^pb "jsn tom airm dns nmpbb ds dnb ies 
w p^»n nsn sttinsn n"s ■psv -ponti ns inn npib ^^n 

: inns 

(98) p. 272. 

b. Ber. io*:— tiete aw inns 'lb S^tt sinn lb "Ml 
^D&tt mnnn snnfc mb n^nm ia dib»ns WA m-an -inb 
wma nm bis« man rwi *wna nin nir#i3 sn rnraa bistD 


■pa iab x^top "parao prp»-n Kb-j pna rrt lEtf wnn aiinab 

:"jb *OEp ab d^aitto p«vn 

(99) p. 274. 

b. Shabb. I52 b : — jrflatta irvniaa inaa "nb kfe a-inn b"a 
rppoa aa^n s^tio aia iiaan aoa nnn rnrm d^-ji b» 
ba urern mri Ann io ow ytro dinn b"a rrtaa bunstfe 
Bftth ©in a*i nnab HTW I fibi* iiroawi d^p ims ©in a'"* 

:nw fiff* awi nbi* intrtwi bt>a 

(100) p. 275. 

b. Sanh. 39 a :— pm daifiba 1TOK Wi MftB XlJin b"X 

b^ naa©i atta ibatowi Tis by aa© bapm^b rrt n^api sin 
»n«n b"a artpatn t:"£ b"a rrakti kwi ana wtFH Tis 
»» inr binr% na"pn n^a wnrti irwi arfrng iab graft 
aba p iw «b pi aon *» f nan© wn» rp ya» Wtt B n i 
rpTfi Y4* nmo» tin -nra ^bE dbi? b« waq ibai istan 
pm d^ d^sn awi am pm da fbia na mi am *nraa da 
na"pn p oa •ptioia pa© D*6ron noina mn vnarn »bts 
binr« b© dmrm* ptab **} baprm na np^Ma 
* mpii atrial *yi pa damba inaa , crt ntm **ti ¥* 
m airom a^a a^n w biap ^a^a nwtjb rmap ia mmn 
W sen rcaa 'n nan ■* a^nai b^ats aniDa b"a D^ts ib*»a Yitt 
iiri msa areata ipv na-na b"a amaa anibiaa apbo 
rianja wa*h «aa aa^ ab ni&» bai a^nai 

(101) p. 276. 

b. Sanh. 99 a :— iritis max Wb a^E aififi b"ai W>Wl 

xp tabula b"a TO 1 * wrtb aaittn irt ^n ^ab b"x n^©^ ■»«■« 
DTOKb bsnyi p» m 7©inn nDn ^a a^na xnp b"« ^b nt:^b 

: nxn^ i^by iTaai 'n rnn T^byi 

(102) p. 277. 

b. Succ. 48 b :— inaa *6 ii»» mnh w» aim b"« 


rpm»E ywm a^na- xnion r™ap-ja ywtb a^na mn -»a b"a 
j*»tj rra p*tfi a-m mb piuns ana* srmm 

(103) p. 278. 

b. Sanh. 91 a :— *m *OaiTH Witt* ^fca 'lb 83^*) aiHfi b"a 

nam nnb bvn 7b biEEa b"a *m ap ^ mwn a-is# Yin am 
mp^a Bf^TO "p-itabfi ^b 1531 nab Ynayb -naatt c-n i©a ^btsb wn 
iaai nm onb iJpn ibso wrt irna iasi nabn nwn d^ p*» 
an^b* oso ^w iaa ya ib itoa twi itt> m mptn ima 
nam dNfl i&i» Y^a* DTTCfii nsjn n^ ya© Diptsa pb tcai 
■oa* mrri r&psb at yaafc nna ^a can n^ai n^a nna by 
-n&a "fro nwai •pni&n irrab mrw Y*»fi nraa ^in oiito 
yrbn aba ia ya DW» nail inb nb? rtama fttA i^an a£» 
:nwbn ibia abanai trws rrf inttb ma 

(104) p. 281. 

b. Sanh. 9i a :— fob *n ao^DB p jttWMfe i»na amn b"a 

fob Ti b"a yin mnn wd ym y*n WB yrrmaan rm 
«>"a ab ^n 11m ^n Tin abi yn ab we pr mftan a^a^n 
' (t r inpy b aot^ww ia swot aKnaitp ^a ^b n*np a^a^n b"a 
: bitan nam -ottn a-ipn pi* awn p WW nna na b"a v** 

(105) p. 282. 

b. Sanh. 39 a :— yia iwb an atnnsn 'ib -ioip mb -nsa 

yna la^rnia wia psa ab pbntn ya ^nb toa m a^yb 

aabttb wi ba w»ta rrraap n^© we b"a imia 11m wbnB 

abi ^an wna ainn b"a nibaa abi na^ab mnw "la^ab nrnttS 

irrtoin n^nb n^b wi© ann yto abi Dim mbaa 

The same story is told in Jalq. Shim, on Zeph III. 9, with 
no essential variation. 

(106) p. 285. 

b. Sanh. 38 b :~ DWob »vnr tt 6 ^"i^i pKU ^an "j^n: a-i 112a 
rv-na 1 a-ib imQ ainn -rtaa Tirrt ab ab in tirr* n^i^a 1 ana 
inr b"a w* ^^a^ ^ba ri& *n ba nb* ntsa m»r bai a*vo 


inbss 2 wi ^ impn ^e© *3 n*nm inn a©D is©© pitrjE 
rrab an?©sb «ttn ab p as in iqrtnan bs in -ran bs n^nn rnb 
awi n^np 4 sb nsniparmKi ib^san p-a 3 xniD^n b"*ob 

:'im a^nbin "pss pa ax rtn -ie*oi 

1 ■*!•* Cod. Monac. apud. Rabbcz. 2 in^tj idem. 3 -p^n idem. 
4 h ^yfrap idem. 

The above is contained also in Jalq. Shim., Mishpat. § 359. 
(107) p. 287. 

b. Hagg. i5 a :— ar m ab am©i rrt> ipffwun rnwo'na am 

ra^an ab *m ab nb*t>b-j a-v^a 'ton btftrn aniinr nnn^b 

pi ni-n©-; 'n aib©i on se© wr abi q-n* «6l rvnnn abi 

iirten ^obifi prw wrm fnop'nA impsa 

(108) p. 290. 

b. Sanh. 39 a :— *n tto fc^ns *>nnb «o*nq ainn rrt 1E8 
wni* na pn» nr*rrcn mna pan ins *a bvntro *pa*n 
•p* two* irnto mb -iek YEA pan o^iarr bn iwi pm 

:n©nrp «b a^iani n^nm 

(109) p. 291. 

M. Sanh. IV. 5.: im «b©1 'W* DTK anni *p^b 

janste rmi©-i nenn obtain JWB 

(110) p. 292. 

T. Sanh. VIII. 7.: rorma anna nabi minnaa area di« 
jwm iw n**i GfrTp D*ntfw prw w ab© 

(111) p. 293. 

b. Sanh. 38 b :— mm iittbb up© ivi wi* «"i ann pn 
oi-iip^a aba 13© ab pni^ 1 tan oimp^ab n^©n© ™ jhi 
pm 1 * "V'a is© ipsn ©*n b*n©i ompifia bna a^nnin i-ni* b© 
bwi xtsbsa bth n©TD pisn inm©n cwtan rtpw aipro bn 
msnb 'n -nil dumb a© nbnai rmfl nan ittbtn a-an na ainba 
irrw nsisn bab aifiban iiba ibw a© in bia»n mn wn nx 


f6 ^ba wz*\~\p D\nb« ib n©a bna *fl *>* ■« im* dyo 
i»» f nan -ina *fl bihro 7**d to i^ba i5»np ban wrbp 
aw ?w pwn i^n frfcrd *1 i* t#b ft ifrirt D^nba iDbn 
raw ain Tins ttnpn ra prm n"ai prm "cmD *>b rab 7nn 
attar* 1W* WTN&3 n^a^E rib*fc bra a^bfc&n fbiaD d"^^ -qi 
Kb* i»a man twto *h -& ^nbiD n^snn MriNito •ptriip itawjn 
y i i*th trfe tfttft ib in^ awn Tfft -mai ib -ma wnab 
aba bin wd» m«r nna ^ra -t? anip* ■** *i b"a an^p^ 
©"n mwa nbnp ab ia mm nbnp npisb mai f^b ina 
p nr*ba 'n b"a a^p* *i "nan npisb -mai ^-ib -ina a^m 
ina aba nibnai OTMB bsa 7bD rmi bsa 7b sma anip* avw 
rrton Biinb q-ifc-nci rt« nt^b aoD rpsnfcb -mai aosb 

(112) p. 297. 

Siphri § 143. p. 54 a :— bDD nail ain TTfia WV p "plttD© 

niansi i-m abi Triba abi D^nba ab ann TD*a ab rnina© mnnpn 
tttrrb o^tib ns> •jinrao fmb ab» wia DO a"n yy aba 

(113) p. 297. 

b. Menah. 110 a :— nail ail W* p JWD» *1 ilea IJW 

n^nba abi ba ab ona n^ai ab« niDmp rw*a smt rra 
jpibnb *pi bsob n& "pirns ir^b abfc 'n aba 

(114) p. 297. 

Siphra 4 C : Same in substance as (112), but ascribed to 
R. Jose [ben Halaphta] instead of to R. Shim'on ben Azai. 
The saying is also found in Jalq. Shim. § 604. 

(115) p. 299. 

Echah. r. I. 1. p. 10 a :— TO1WI TflDDID "CP ba-fl&i iba ab 

rrtnarai rmain mwn ruin D*nwb rtarcm rbvosn obi* b» 

jrniri tw 

(116) p. 299. 

Siphri § 329. p. 139 b :— nar am ^a ^a ^D nn* nn 
OTaw rrrwi *nfc -man erava m«i ^a BfhBrwfe nawn 


bw ■pa k»» IK *W n^nba "pai "6 D*nBi8i vrtm pn^iTa 
mna'i rvnaa ^a bti a*t»ib abn ynnb ab r™>ib «bi nwinb 
•o«i ITOan ^a ttuoi H ibKian b*n«n Tbtt 'n tdk sin ifciai 

:D*>nba pa •nybatii *pnna 

(117) p. 300. 

Mechilta Jithro § 5. p. 66 b :— *1 1$ WT1 rim K«fUH 

jrv» »b» 'iai imoip pa psai to wn nni wwn i*>ttn ftwo 
** ''DDK aba p rrpwi tie toib dbvn nitt'iab hid yinns 
^a asb -j^n^b *oa -oyBb i» nttm by •»» dm by ^» tpvAh 
nipt is sin *w ^a ^ nriy nn to«b» an"yb *m nrn Dbiyb 
wi iitan ^k mans "* ibawi b»w» ^bfc 'ii •«* no una ^k 
Vmtr\ ^a *■ ^a tttfTa wwin snip ntn bys na towi jinn* 
p rvrnfln me ointiiKto pweb TOi»n |ipta -tola jft *i 

(118) p. 301. 

Ber. r. VIII. 8. p. 22 d :— W DM pfiD *Q b81E© W 

n©y£ nniD rem nnwi na atto Hotb tprt* tom n^a ^tfn 

nw^i DMb» nttiw tow© nrn piosb y»an© frcs di^i dii bs 

•pri** inia nr« ma abwr fen i^b tos WWD lifcbsn dia 

iwtji myob wron biro ib -wn vntti owrib ne 

(119) p. 302. 

j. Shabb. 8 d :— n* to© nm^a pun to» vnba nab nn 
rrt n*»« iai Tb^fc ppm b"a v* by y©n tfinnb *wi labia 
sma nb© *i iaa iayi iirta Tn© "n ?innb* T*ta wi nrn 
wmrt i "h vtrtak xwwn maabd nb© *i aba po a*«tp ri^b 

: ^mby 

(120) p. 303. 

Shem. r. XXIX. 5. p. 51 b :— 1TOS n"X T^^ tl "»D3» a"l 

^5« TO"pn n^^ n» i« na * vn ^bitj dti nos fbrt b»» 

:n» ••b p»» D^nbK v» 


(121) p. 304. 

Pesiq. r. XXI. p. 100 b : same as (95) above. 

(122) p. 306. 

Debar, r. II. 33. p. 104 c :— DiWlMJ iba D* ai2in]n ba DtW 02 

pan ban wn jwo is rrrtri n"a a^nn bx l w n-iba r« 

in m^n ^n© eMfihirtb m^n twi vrtn na mn ■* 'n Das 
*6tt na irnri h'lr ' Viati o^p rvmb -pn* im tram ima^ 
p» u*j* OT n^ib D^na •pEbiiBfc on© prflfc impw ba-n*n 
'aa na"pnb v^P* F& •"^ aipm ?*& wrw maa 'Ma 
nab© b* na"pn o*a ana 'n hwu tmp rnp «mp rwnp 
■pita nana nm tost »Tp bio nai b"a nrn piosn n^atta 
-ins ©*» nam na rf#i nrn "wa a-^nn ba dw an yph g tt 
b«hir« *w& aba p abi n» ib ■pn nb p» nm p ds ^b vai 

:ma 'n trv&fi 'n 

(123) p. 308. 

j. Ber. 3 C :— 21tt© DM n'ffl *b» nimi mw impl 
an va ttusan rviron 'pas? maia nar b"n dm nam *i w 
see b© nana in p mnain mw« nibs &"© rpb am p 'pa 
w» mn via rnaa prw^ to* pro T* baiEE in nana nm 
iaw vrtu ynnp p* ™ ^ s *tt W baa rnwri rnw "pip 
twaa n»ttb ib wo iab iba D^wia irn aba? itrnan n»o 

(124) p. 308. 

b. Ber. i2 a :~ yna» Da wfi *eb trna-in rnw pttpn 
bffltro n»» nw V* -owa nanai n-nayi aim rraa -torn 

ntronn t«B Dibaa naa» aba p rmpb wpa "pbiaaa qa 
aba p rmpb iBpa -pbiafia wra -jro *i wi to »w pwon 

wroprt nao *n"aa nan p^n rmijnn xva Dibaa ^aa© 
nao ntt^a ywom nmnn w Dibtaa naa aion an b"a amoa 
ntttnn i»tt nibtaa -iaa i»» an b"a n> r tftu w^apqb 

* »5in 3"» *»n Rabbcz. 


(125) p. 309. 

b. Pesah. 56 a :— B*fMl 2tt© DX |WO *»H 1S"0 Vn 

n^i^a *an "nai vp^ose Wi *^ "f™ ' n W*« fri ban© 1 ' *b© 
d© i^na ffnsrtt t*i ab© aba fti ppow tew rrrw w 

*i m-re rrt p-raa a£2tt in pm tn fiWA imabti -ma 
isoan ^am raa ba aipy* anpvi b"a©n 'ton V»pi p jurw 
idee npbinon ptwi J p 1XOS! nibab aipyi ©p^a Dab nrasn 
man vetw amaaa bios mora •* Bribn on mm to» nra© 
'n bran *£© toj ib ma» to xm *rv» pnr» ^ai Mtitaw 
laaba ^» *p ina aba Tibs pa© n©a niaa ma ft tmbM 
-naa o© linn na*i iraa aipy nna n*© nmaa ina aba 
ywmu »b irmtaw tost wi pn "nan -cri obvb irrota 
mix D et a in w» naipnn aipji maa wrttMp ab rah m 
7b» nib b©tt nan w w ■n'aa pn& w tan ^a©na 
nb ©^ -naan xb ia:a nb ©^ n^an aa rrmp ipi* rornn© 
w» nrpnn nnaa ^an tdk im a^ai-ib nma* ib^nnn -or* 
aa^bi amroai "p^w H OThn ^wa on bipa ima d*wpi» 

: ^a©na nb tiaa «n»n is )wn 

(126) p. 313. 

M. Ber. IX. 5:— nnaia *nn ©ip»a m mro rorw ba 

wpnn Ttw aba obv pa fltth T*tDrt ibpbp©*> obwi yn 

na bai© cna ari^© wpnm Dbwi iyi DbWi pa d*i»» w» 

:*oi r*a aa rem tmb» o©a ton aib© 

(127) p. 315. 

Shem. r. XLIV. 6. p. 73 c - d :— Tom mab DSVOab TOT a"l 

b"a Dentin on o^n pbwi pan n©tt *vaa *6 n"K max ■* 

(128) p. 315. 

T. Meg. IV. 37:— pa ntiix *iT*ba p ivtt© 'n n^n pro 
■ji-inxb n»ia* ia^©n© nai©na© nbpbpn b$ a^©nb ik©i iwn 

fprt i©n& d©« 

* Cod. Vienn. nwab ininx. 



(129) p. 316. 

b. Meg. 25 b :— D18 8!T tkttib W1K Wbtf p ©""I *^n 

•paiwi* mpB ni&Eb Tnna "OMBtw mwtriittab wgn bt tai ' v^ 
:rim ba*ri am Ban w*mi *na»ai& 

* So the Mss.; text has fc^STOo. 

(130) p. 316. 

T. Par. IIL 3:— blttflWP 1 DIM N3$9 1 i»b TTD* 

in© ppnmw fre bww wp* jwftn t*i pa b» moid 
-j-nb iwob Q ^P* ^ nn Sn onb IBM moiDn labiaro rnnttb 

: or-ina 

(131) p. 319. 

Ber. r. XL VIII. 6. p. 97 b - c :— tomb rtfiWl bD ftW V* 

D^tsn fwa nrflD ibinn© na prt ta-na arowi rrono anpwa 

(132) p. 320. 

Shem. r. XIII. 3. p. 24 d :— "tt6 fttt mm « *0 «"l 

WD t»t] wm Kb nt* jwA ns> pnwD peia pw V* 

or* nrio^ «^pb p o'h b"a tab na •^rrtDn -o 'hod ratm 
DUO in mm nn"pn© pV* »in a^sbb da aba DWd b» 
■pa iab by« aim ta inn ■omn tw4*i m» rowsn d*s> 
fro *mn nr* p tpt atDnt? rra latna yns>b na nsngm 
nnx nn"pn b"« y»w b* mm »bi onj*fc 'n myn tm 
by na^ia *?b spans wn pb ra man yen* rv»»pn 

: inwaia 

(133) p. 323. 

Jalqut Shimoni. on Ps. LX. 9 [Hebr.; 7. Engl.]:— ^b 8"f 

m*pn pn» piian 7b inw dk [•»*]* p ffrw V* "ttb* 
•WW* twa -ttb* tmrna m** ■nn osib -mai D^n* rrma 
nanm bnp£ nn"pn , p«w ib mam ds man *i .it by 

bbsm toast? nawra won ^nbips: T» Mm ^n tinb tek 

* Bacher corrects *b into ©ipb. A. d. P. A. I. 372. n. 


tnap a«i noun r*£ a^neai .mbsn w»^ ib *wn 'n ba 
in mroTB nspb» *tni [anb -nriK] rvnp* np» ra"pn •pa© 7b 
ippinti rrw .nsnb "Wpw TWO im&» (fa p *f*i p 
wnm n^an *ti »an pa b^ro nn"pn "p«» Twaa 1 * on 
rrw ^nta u n aw n ie^de m pa oft* b^in© er^-rana 

:rran b*on 

(134) p. 325. 

Siphri § 48. p. 84 a :— ttm TIRO Wl* IPtKO p p*WD '1 

ay 7T»^Qjn*i D*to» nn»n ban firto b© mfe nn» ffo» 

:dwq "nm 

(135) p. 325. 

Siphri § 331. p. 140 a :— TWOT D^rVD *» "mi Dp5 n*>»S 

■wMnabi "tn bn^nn OTfO nbian >kj "na ptwai *iw "ns w#*i 

■praiprai kd»k Ti TKHta abn w* mn pi man iba ob»x 

: ^b wi a^n*»i«b a^naw© naaiD mbnn aaipna 

(136) p. 326. 

B. Bathr. 91 a :— mm T\ ttt* ipn "Q pn in TaKI 

ww mn iKbrnaa pm nmaa ms-o nn mbnw nmasn 
[ma«] ban* nn mm tm rrw nina -vinta aaa «eb yw 
nnii&nb n^ta apitt •wttb "pro rrnnai nw&bbs pan una* 

: i won 

(137) p. 327. 

M. R. ha-Sh. II. 1.:— nUK pnbwa Wl* 'pTOtl p» BK 

ibpbpwtt aia bna «nnn rrm pbnpB rti reroana wawib w 
tyvwi pa aba pbnp* w ab» wpnn iwon 

(138) p. 329. 

b. R. ha-Sh. 22 b :— bntt mnn rvn* ftoftn rtt fiDlttana 

:'w nna a*a pcwwi ibpbp bipbp ma pan wi "lai ana 

(139) p. 338. 

b. Nedar. 32 b :— ©p^a bx*12W tn BITDtt rmDT W "09* 

pna p*»b* bab pn mrin ■ydhstd bee rare mnnb na"pn 


TOM DirQKE raratti nipttn romb Dmna nana D^ipno 
Tnai pai pwe wip ^b* bab ama fn* i£*oi WW 
XNp romb -n* nam v*^P ti W cin^ax * iek jrt* ba 
rrn&a i* wp* w ■tfwb ti Q»d iimm nmnab nsns tna 
pte nna dh^ abi 'n *ied s^ro rmwn Tbsnb arm t^ik 
n^riDi lyitm pis ■oho b© Tturn by pis ^b£ inw by Db^b 
:pD i*it -pan pa «m rrt* bab po aim 









Angel of Death, 41. 

Ark, to go before the, 59, 125, 

Ascension, the, of Christ, 76, 

Asherah, 165. 
Ass, associated with Jesus, 154, 


worship of, 154 n. 

and lamp, 146, 152 f. 

Athenaeum, 168. 

Baithusin, 328. 
Baraitha, 21. 

Bath Qol, 135 n., 184, 240. 
Be Abldan, l6l, l64f. 

Athina, 167. 

Nitzraphi, l6l, l69f. 

Beth Din, 81 n. 

Books of Minim, see headings 
of sections. 

Cocheba Bar, War of, 28, 45, 84, 
94, 131, 212, 225, 238,303, 

Contexts in Scripture, 273 f. 

Deity of Christ, 76, 102. 
Demiurgus, 263, 299. 
Deposition of R. Gamliel, 386 n. 
Diagramma (Ophite), 155 n., 

372, 3. 
Divorce, law of, 58. 
Dualism, 262. 

Ebionites, 266, 379- 

Ecclesiastes, book of, 4, 197, 
385, 391. 

Empire, Roman, adopted Chris- 
tianity, 124, 185, 209, 249. 

Epiquros, 119, 295, 366. 

Essenes, 200. 

Evangelion, 149, 163-4, 239, 

Food, burns his, phrase ex- 
plained, 57-60, 187. 

Gehinnom, 118, 125, 187, 191, 

Gemara, 19, 349. 
Giljonim, 155 n., 373, 390. 
Gnostics, 321, 368-70, 374. 
Gospel, 72, 357-9, 390. 

of Matthew, 45, 150-2, 239. 

Greek Language, 89. 

Haggadah, 12-14, 24. 

Halachah, 11-12. 

Halatz, 235 f. 

Healing, in the name of Jesus, 

103 f., 108 f. 
Hebrews, Epistle to the, 265 f., 

272, 289, 293, 318, 322, 339, 

378, 380-1, 395. 
Horos, see Metatron, 286. 
Horseleach, daughters of the, 

Hitzonim, 200. 




Jalqut Shim'oni, 25. 
Jelam'denu (Midrash), 25. 

Kingdom, near to the, 48, 89. 
turned to Minuth, 209. 

Loadstone, 101-2. 
Logia, 151. 

Masoroth (delatores), 119, 174, 

Massoreth, tradition, 8 n. 

Mechilta (Midrash), 24. 

Meshummad, 366. 

Metatron, 286-8, 373. 

Mezuzah, 158. 

Midrash, 22-5. 

Rabbah (Rabboth), 25. 

Min, Minim, Minuth, see head- 
ings of sections, and last 
chapter of conclusion, passim. 

Miracles, 31-2, 114 f. 

Mishnah, 17. 

Mumar, 174-5. 

Nazirite, proverb concerning 

the, 186. 
Nebheloth, 174. 
Notzri, Notzrim, 52 n., 164, 170, 

172, 344 f., 379. 

Odeum, 167. 

Pedigrees, book of, 43. 
Pentecost, 328. 

Persecution of Christians, Q4 
141. ' 

Pesiqta (Midrash), 25. 
Philosoph, 146, 148. 
Philosophy, Greek, 106, 168. 

Qabbala, 8 n. 

Qoheleth, see Ecclesiastes. 

Rabbah, 212. 

Rabbinical literature, 17-31. 
Rabbinism, central idea of, 7. 
Repentance, 322. 
Resurrection of the dead, 232 
279, 313, 322. 

Sadducees, 319, 334. 
Serpent, the, a Min, 199. 
Shema', the, 3, 310. 
Siphra (Midrash), 24, 350. 
Siphri (Midrash), 24, 350. 
Soul after death, 274. 
Synagogue, the Great, 4, 6. 

Talmud, 17-21. 

of Jerusalem, 20 n. 

Tanhuma (Midrash), 25. 
Temple, destruction of, 129 

rebuilding of, 283-4. 

Tephillin, 158, 200. 
Torah, 2-7, 15. 
Tosephta, 21-2. . 
Tradition, 8-14. 

Zugoth, 2. 


th™rr\ A th % I ann A aite P eri ° d ( See P- 350 >' are distinguished 
thus (T.), those of the Amoraite period thus (A.) after the name. 

Abahu (AA 62, 109 f., 161 f„ 
173, 176, 266 f„ 270, 278, 
303, 310. 

Abarbanel, 95. 

Abba bar Kahana (A.), 209 n 
Abba Shaul (T.), 65. 
Abina (A.), 290. 
Adam, 199. 



Aha (A.), 174, 204, 210, 257, 

306, 393. 
Ahitophel, 60, 65, 70-1, 75, 

Alexander the Great, 282, 331. 
Amemar (A.), 308. 
Ami (A.), 109, 279, 308. 
Amram, D. W., 58. 
Antigonos of Socho, 2. 
Aqiba (T.), 10, 17, 40, 43, 45, 

57, 65, 84, 112, 130, 137, 208, 

228, 273, 296, 316. 
Ashi (A.), 70 n., 157, 172, 309. 
Asi (A.), 109. 

Ba (A.), 308. 

Bacher, W., 1 1 n., 27 n., 64, 74, 
130, 134, 153, 166 n., 185 n., 
189, 193, 197, 205, 207, 
208, 209 n., 213, 223, 229 n., 
232, 254, 259, 269, 271, 283, 
286, 290, 298, 321, 335 n. 

Balaam, 63-78 passim, 29 1. 

Bar Livianos (Julianos), 244. 

Qappara (T.), 108. 

Ben Azai, Shim' on (T.), 43 f., 
50, 297-9, 353, 370. 

Damah El'azar, 103 f. 

Netzer, 73 n., 95-6. 

Pandira (Pantiri), 35 f., 

103 f., 138, 344 f. 

Stada, 35 f., 55, 79 f., 344 f. 

Zoma (T.), 370. 

Benjamin ben Levi (A.), 196. 

Berachjah (A.), 191. 

Beruria (T.), 237 f. 

Bibi bar Abaji (A.), 41 f., 355. 

Bodia (A.), 157. 

Buni, disciple of Jesus, 91 f. 

Caesar, 165, 222, 282. 

Damah, see Ben Damah. 
Doeg, 60, 65 I, 70-1, 75, 192. 
Domitian, 141. 
Drummond, J., 207 n. 
Edersheim, A., 47, 59 n., 95, 
143, 201. 

El'azar ben Azariah (T.), 113, 

228, 273, 295 f. 

ben Jose (T.), 136. 

ben Pedath (A.), 77, 115 

193, 273. 

ha-Qappar (T.), 63-4. 

of Mod'in(T.), 369. 

Eliezer ben Horqenos (T.), 35 f., 
45 f., 48, 54, 84, 106, 137 f., 
140, 143, 185, 196 n., 207, 
219, 273, 293, 351, 386 n., 

Elisha, the prophet, 60, 96 f. 

ben Abujah (T.), 163, 219, 

221, 288, 370, 373. 

Etheridge, J. W., 2. 

Eusebius, 141, 217. 

Ezra, 4. 

Frankel, Z., 131. 

Friedlander, M., 122 n., 145 n., 

155 n., 221 n., 286 f., 337, 

Friedmann, M., 305, 364. 

Gamliel II. (T.), 84,89, 127 f., 
144n., 147 f., 198, 212, 228 f., 
231 f., 235 f., 240, 280, 313, 
353, 381, 385. 

Gehazi, 60, 65, 71, 97 f. 

Geiger, A., 333. 

Gratz, H., 96, 130, 135, 144, 
223, 259, 284, 313, 381 n., 

Hadrian, 45, 132, 167, 223, 225. 
Haggai (A.), 335 f. 
Hamburger, J., 1, 126 n., 131, 

165, 190. 
Hamnuna (A.), 159. 
Hanan bar Rabba (A.), 326. 
Hananel, 314. 
Hananjah, nephew of R. 

' Jehoshua (T.), 211 f., 268. 
Hanina bar Hama (A.), 72 f., 

" 247 f., 250, 251 f. 

bar Hananjah (A.), 11 6. 

ben Teradjon (T.), 237. 



Hamack, A., 384. 

Hija bar Abba (A.), 6, 179, 306, 

Hillel(T.) } 2, 6n., 57 f„ 135. 
Hisda (A.), 37, 57, 60 n., 124, 

187 f., 308, 354-5. 
Hitzig, 39 n. 
Hoshaia (A.), 247 f. 
Huna (A.), 77, 186, 210. 

Idi (A.), 286 f. 

Imma Shalom, 146 f. 

Ishmael ben Elisha (T.), 29, 

103 f., 129 f., 156 f., 172, 


ben Jose (T.), 245. 

Isiof Csesarea (A.), 215, 219 f., 


Jacob of Chephar Sama (Sech- 

anja), 106f., 138 f. 

the Min, 109, 111. 

Jannai (A.), 115, 253, 258. 

the King, 52. 

Jehoshua ben Hananjah (T.), 

43 f., 48, 115 f.', 117, 153, 165, 

188, 211 f., 221 f., 226 f., 280. 

ben Levi (A.), 108, 332, 354. 

ben Perahjah, 38, 52 f., 97, 

Jehudah II. (Nesiah) (A.), 109. 
ben Jehesq'el (A.), 126, 

223, 227, 30*8, 355. 

ben Naqosa (T.), 218 f. 

ben Tabbai, 52. 

bar Zebuda (A.), 77. 

ha-Qadosh (Rabbi) (T.), 

17, 128, 184, 208, 218, 223, 

240 f., 297, 353. 
Jeremiah bar Abba (A.), 56 f. 
Jerome, 378. 
Jesus, 9, 37-96 passim, 102, 117, 

143, 150, 214, 224 n., 234, 

305, 330, 344-60 passim; 

see also heads of sections in 

Division I. A. 
Jitzhaq (A.), 100, 159 n., 209, 

240, 244, 246, 26l, 310. 

Johanan (A.), 20 n., 28, 47, 68, 
73, 75,98, 108, 110,120, 149, 
162, 172, 174-5, 179, 180, 
186, 193, 216, 279, 315, 321, 

ben Zaccai (T.), 43, 84, 

142 n., 352, 382. 

Jonathan ben El'azar (A.), 216 f., 

254 f., 301, 319. 
Jose bar Bun (A.), 77. 

ben Halaphta (T.), 136, 

245, 317. 

ben Joezer, 2. 

ben Johanan, 2. 

ben Zimra (A.), 115. 

Jose ha-Galili (T.), 155, 296 
Joseph, father of Jesus, 48. 

bar Hija (A.), 42 f., 


bar Hanin (A.), 162. 

bar Jehoshua ben 

(A.), 19. 

bar Minjomi (A.), 179. 



Josephus, Flavius, 345 n. 
Joshua, 2. 

Jost, J. M., 61 n., 96, 130, 166. 
Judah ben Pazi (A.), 205 f., 

Judan (A.), 257. 
Judas Iscariot, 71, 75. 
Julian the Apostate, 283 f. 
Justin Martyr, 85 n., 156 n., 


Kahana (A.), 333, 356. 
KeimTh., 31, 53 n., 82, 95. 

Laible, H., 35-94 passim. 
Levi (A.), 315. 

Levy, J., 47, 95, 113, 166, 362. 
Livianos, see Bar Livianos. 

Mar bar Joseph (A.), 162. 

bar Rabina (A.), 70 n. 

Uqba(A.), 183, 186. 

Marx, G. A., 3 n., 77. 
Mathnah (A.), 77, 308. 
Matthai, disciple of Jesus, 92 f. 



Meir(T.), 86-7, 149, 162-4, 238, 

246, 254, 309, 353. 
Melchizedek, 265, 339 f. 
Miriam (Mary), 37 f., 41 f., 355, 

Moses, 2, 4, 5, 12, 77, 301, 307, 

309, 316. 

Nahman bar Jacob (A.), 158, 

bar Jitzhaq (A.), 286. 

Nathan (T.), 301, 308. 

Nebuchadnezzar, 302. 

Nehemjah (T.), 208 f. 

Nehorai (T.), 330. 

Neqai, disciple of Jesus, 93. 

Nero, 140. 

Netzer, disciple of Jesus, 93. 

Neubauer, A., 213 n. 

Nicholson, E. B., 148. 

Odenathus, 96. 
Odgers, J. E., 151. 
Onqelos bar Qaloniqos, 68. 
Origen, 39 n., 250. 

Pandira (Pantiri), see Ben Pan- 

Papa (A.), 48, 356. 
Pappos ben Jehudah, 37 f. 
Paul, 10, 71, 86, 99 f., 229. 
Pedath (A.), 186. 
Peter, 71, 75, 114. 
Pharaoh, 321. 
Philo, 230 n. 
Pinhas Listaah (Pontius Pilatus), 

73, 87, 89. 

Rab (A.), 72, 126, 162, 165, 169, 
186, 198, 223, 326, 354. 

Raba (A.), Ill n., 131 n., 221. 

Rabah bar Abuha (A.), 179. 

bar R. Huna (A.), 308. 

Rabbinowicz, R., 52 n. and 

Rabina (A.), 70 n., 174. 

Rachel, 253. 

Rashi, 55, 59, 70 n., 76, 109, 1 19, 
140, 178, 180, 289, 326. 

Resh Laqish, see Shim' on ben 

Reuben ben Aristobulos(T.),303. 
Rosch, 154 n. 

Saphra (A.), 170, 267 f., 337, 

Sason, 277. 
Schrader, E., 213 n. 
Schurer, E., 31, 167, 334. 
Shammai (T.), 2, 57. 
Shemuel (A.), l6l, 169, 171, 


bar Jitzhaq (A.), 197, 203. 

bar Nahmani (A.), 6l n., 

77, 193, 197, 302, 363. 
ha-Qaton (T.), 128-35. 

Shesheth (A.), 332. 

Shim' on ben El'azar (T.), 316. 

ben Gamliel (T.), 130 f. 

ben Johai (T.), 28. 

ben Laqish (Resh Laqish) 

(A.), 75, 108, 216, 308, 309, 

320, 324. 

ben Menasja (A.), 325. 

ben Shetah, 52. 

Simeon, bishop of Jerusalem, 


the Just, 2. 

Simlai (A.), 258 f. 

Simon bar Pazi (A.), 205. 

Solomon, 306. 

Stada, see Ben Stada. 

Strack (H.), 2 n. 

Tahlipha bar Abdimi (A.), 171. 

Tanhuma (A.), 271, 283. 

Tarphon (T.), 84, 155, 156 n., 

Thodah, disciple of Jesus, 93. 
Titus, 67. 

Tryphon (see Tarphon). 
Ulla(A.), 83, 88, 186, 355. 
Vespasian, l67n., 382. 
Vischer, E., 384 n. 

Weber, F., 125, 207 n. 

Zacharjah (A.), 338. 
Zunz (L.), 2, 25, 188. 




Alexandria, 51, 52, 168, 223, 

Antioch, 284. 
Athens, 167-8. 

Babylonia, 20 n., 62, 72, 147, 186, 

212, 268, 326. 
Berur Hail, 382. 
Bethar," 28. 
Bethlehem, 253. 
Beth Shearim, 242. 
Bezabde, 166. 

Caesarea, 62, 110, 142, 162, 215, 

244, 250, 267, 269, 337. 
Capernaum, see Chephar Nahum. 
Chephar Aziz, 105. 

Nahum, 153, 211, 214, 

216, 391. 
- Neburaia, 221, 334. 

Sama (Sechanja), 105, 106, 

139, 143, 219. 
Damascus, 98, 101. 
Egypt, 36 } 53, 55, 348. 
Galilee, 72, 113, 333. 

Jabneh, 127, 135 n., 144 n., 147, 

237, 313, 382, 385. 
Jericho, 135 n. 
Jerusalem, 20 n., 45, 84, 106, 


Lud (Lydda), 37, 81, 85, 108, 
140, 142 n., 144 n., 258, 351, 
386 n. 

Machuza, 111. 
Magdala, 40. 

Nahar Paqod, 213 n. 
Nazareth, 52 n. 
Nehardea, 159 n., 179, 309. 
Nicephorium, 166. 

Palmyra, 96. 

Pella, 151. 

Pumbeditha, 35, 37, 223, 286, 355. 

Rome, 29, 132, 140, 154 n., 168, 

journey of Rabbis to, 

144 n., 229, 232, 386 n. 

Sepphoris, 72, 115, 117, 138, 
144 n., 216, 242, 245, 251, 

Shechanzib, 179. 

Shepharam, 242. 

Sinai, 77, 308. 

Sura, 48, 186, 210, 308, 354. 

Tiberias, 108, 113, 193, 244. 
Usha, 105 n., 242, 313, 330, 387. 

Zelzah, 253. 


Gen. i. 1 

26, 27 
iii. 9 
iv. 23 
v. 24 



256, 293, 301 




xi. 5, 7 294 

xiv. 18, 19 338 

xix. 24 245 

xxxv. 3, 7 294 

19 253 

xlix. 1 309 



Exod. iv. 22, 23 


Deut. xxxi. 16 

231, 233 

ix. 16 



221, 224 

x. 1 


xxxii. 21 

196 ft. 

XV. 11 




xx. 2 



xxxii. 41 


xxii. 18 


Josh. i. 8 


xxiii. 7 


xxii. 22 




xxiv. 19 




Jud. v. 11 




xvi. 30 


xxiv. 1 


Ruth ii. 4 


xxv. 2 


1 Sam. i. 1 


xxxii. 13 


x. 2 




xxviii. 12 


xxxiii. 15 


2 Sam. vii. 23 

290, 294 

Lev. vii. 24 


xvi. 23 


xi. 29, 30 


1 Kings i. 33 


xvi. 8 


viii. 13 




xi. 16 


xvii. 18 


xiv. 16 

101 n 

xviii. 5 


2 Kings ii. 5 




v. 23, 26 

Num. v. 22 


vi. i. 


xii. 6 


vii. 3 


xv. 39 



viii. 7 




1 Chron. iv. 3 


xix. 1-13 


2Chron. xvi. 14 


xxiii. 9 


xxxiii. 13 




Ezra iv. 1 




Esther viii. 8 


xxiv. 23 

64, 7 


Ps. iii. 1 


xxvii. 8 


x. 8 


xxxi. 23 


xiv. 1 

96 n. 

Deut. iv. 4 


xxii. 1 



258, ! 






xli. 5 


v. 4 


xlii. 2 


vi. 4 

307, J 


xlvii. 8 




xlix. 15 


xi. 9 


1. 1 






xiii. 8 


lv. 11 


xxi. 23 


lv. 20 


xxii. 3 



72, 75 

xxiii. 6 


lvii. 1 




lx. 9 


xxiv. 1 


Ixiii. 11 

195, 203 

xxv. 5-10 


Ixv. 2 




Ps. lxviii. 24 


Isa. 17 


lxix. 21 


xli. 4 


lxxvii. 13 


xliv. 6 

300, 303 

xci. 10 


xlvi. 4 


c. 1 


li. 16 


cviii. 7 


lii. 10 


ex. 1 

296, 338 

liv. 1 



338, 340 

lvii. 8 

156, 372 

cxi. 8 


lx. 2 


exxxix. 21, 22 

156, 325 

lxvi. 15 


cxliv. 14 




Prov. i. 14 


Jer. xxiii. 24 


ii. 19 


xlix. 7 

222, 225 

iii. 34 


Lam. i. 5 


v. 8 

138, 182 





Ezek. ii. 3 


vii. 26 

138, 219 

iv. 4, 6 


xiii. 23 


xvi. 34 


xxiv. 21 


xxiv. 16 


xxx. 15 


xxxii. 24, 26 


Eccles. i. 3 


Daniel i. 6 


iv. 8 


iii. 25, 28 


vii. 26 

195, 215, 219 

iv. 17 


x. 5 


vii. 9 

294, 300, 304 



xi. 41 


xi. 9 


xii. 3 


Cant. vii. 9 


Hosea v. 6 


Isa. iv. 1 


Amos iii. 2 


v. 14 


iv. 13 


vi. 3 


Obad. 4 


xi. 1 


Micah i. 7 


xii. 3 


iv. 13 


xiv. 19 


v. 2 


xxvi. 19 

231, 233 

vii. 4 


xxxiii. 14 


Zech. xiii. 8 


xl. 12 


Mai. iv. 3 




i. 1 


ii. 4, 6 


13 f. 


iv. 2 


v. 13 

224 n. 


150, 152 n. 

21, 22 

9, 121 



28, 29 






31, 32 






207 n. 







xxvii. 37-43 





ix. 22 






iii. 17 


xxi. 38 

345 n 

vii. 5 

8 n. 


ix. 17, 18 


ix. 45, 46 



xv. 20 f. 


ix. 49, 50 



iii. 7 


xiv. 56 t 51 




XV. 1 



iv. 11 


xvi. 17, 18 



i. 1 



xxii. 55 


vi. 6 



v. 17 




x. 11 


xi. 5 



xii. 32 
iii. 6 



ii. 6, 9, 
14, 15 


iv. 6 

44 n. 

iii. 9 




ix. 11 


v. 34 



Texts transcribed and translated in full are indicated thus (*). 



v. 3 



vi. 4 


ix. 5 



vii. 7 


*R. ha-Sh. 

ii. 1 



x. 2 



iv. 8, 9 



i. 1 



iv. 13 



iii. 15 



vi. 4 



v. 18 

101 n. 


v. 8 



ii. 9 



ix. 15 



vii. 7 



ix. 10 



iii. 3 



ix. 10 



iii. 8 

198, 385 


iv. 5 


2. Tos 



iv. 8 



iii. 25 



xiii. 4 

128, 135 n. 


xi. 15 



v. 6 



xiii. 5 


*B. Mez. 

ii. 33 



iii. 2 



viii. 7 



v. 11 



ix. 7 


R. ha-Sh. 

i. 15 



x. 11 



iv. 37 



xiii. 4, 5 



iii. 3, 4 



i. 5 





ii. 19 







ii. 20, 21 






ii. 22, 22 

► 103 



161, 386 


ii. 24 


3. SlPHRI 



112 p. 33 b 


♦Deut. § 329 


b 262, 299 



115 35* 


* n § 



a 325 




131 47 a 


4. SlPHRA 

4 C 





143 54 a 


5. Mechilta 

37 b 




48 84 a 



58 b 

103 n. 



56 87 a 




66 h 




320 137 1 

196 n. 


95 h 


6. Talmud Jerushalmi 


3 C 

77, 308 


4 a 



5 b 



15 d 

8 (Appx.) 


8 a 



64 d 



9 C 

125, 204 


l6 d 



12 d , 13 a 



24 b 

129, 133 n. 


25 a , b 



24 c 

135 n. 


46 b 



37 d 



32 a 



38 a 




161, 335 


40 a 



8 d 



18 c 

133, 205 


13 d 



19 a 




14 d 



23 c 




14 d 



25 c , 




15 c 



25 d 

112, 115 


I7 b 



27 d 



38 c 



29 c 


R. ha-Sh 

. 57 d 



34 d 



65 h 



48 c 

135 n. 

M. Qat. 

83 c 


A. Zar. 

40 d , 

41 a 



76 d 

10 n. 


40 d 



77 d 

7. Talmi 

jd Babli 


7 a 



54 a ,56 b ,58 a 332 





63 a , 







13 a 



12 a 



13 b , 

30 b 



12 b 



88 a 

111, 253 


I7 b 



104 b 

35, 56 


27 b , 28 a 



ll6 a 

j 146, 156 
} 161 


28 b , 29 a 




34 a 



152 a 








56 a 



53 b 





57 a 



79 b , 80 a 




57 a 

28, 251 


101 a 



90 a 



40 b 



90 b 






32 b 









87 b 



. Qama 

. 16* 



113 a 

20 n. 


38 a , 

47 a , 

i 131 


19 b , 53 b 


lll b 


40 b 



83 a 






. Mez. 

59 b 

144 n. 





92 a 



87 a 

101 n. 


. Bathr. 14 b 

3, 76 

R. ha-Sh 

. 17 a 



25 a 



22 b 



28% 1 




31 a , b 



60 b 



20 b 




91 a 



27 a 



7 a 



27 b 28 a 



ll a 



48 b 



32 b 



29 a 



37 a 



I7 b 



38 b 

/ 120, 198, 245, 
\ 285, 293 


18 a 




23 a 

111, 332 



39 a 

275, 282, 290 


24 b 




43 a 


48, 83, 90 



25 b 




67 a 


37, 79 


19 b 

92 n. 


68 a 

142 n. 


26 a 




90 b 




27 b 




91 a 

278, 281 


4 b 



97 b 


5 b 




99 a 



ll b 



99 b 



15 a 




103 a 



l6 b 



105 b 



46 a 




106 a 

47, 75 


49 b 




106 b 


n.), 72, 75 


63 b 

196 n. 



107 b 

50, (99) 


87 a 

101 n. 


» Zar. 

4 a 




102 b 



4 b 



51 b 




6 a 



65 a 



ll a 



112 a 




l6 b , ] 

L7 a 



49 b 




I7 a 



47 a 




I7 b 



48 b 




26 a , ' 




29 b 




27 b 



45 b 

157 (200 n.) 



28 a 




A. Zar. 

36 a 


58 b , 59 a 


65 a 


c. 6 


c. 38 


xvii. 5 

Der. Er. Z. 



51 a 


ll a 


42 b 



180 n. 

142 n. 







200 n. 





99 b 


110 a 


13 a 


13 b 


41 a 


84 a 


87 a 


8 a 


ll b 


24 b 



8. Ber. Rab. vii. 2p.20 c 

viii. 8 


xix. 1 

xxv. 1 

xlviii. 6 

li. 2 

lxxv. 6 

lxxvi. 6 

lxxxii. 9 

22 d 

23 a 

42 b 

55 c 

105 a , b 246 
145 a 154 
146 a 
155 b 


9. *ShemothR.xiii. 3 24 b 






10. *Vajiqr. R 

ll.Bamm. R. 

xix. 4 36 b 
xxix. 1 50 d 258 
5 51 b 303 
xxx. 9 53 c , d 228 
xliv. 6 73 c , d 

199, 315 

xiii. 5 19 c 331 

xxi. 9 30 c 152 

xxviii. 1 40 c , d 196 

xiv. 1 56 h 324 

xvi. 14 66 h 307 

xviii. 17 75 d 192 

xix. 3 79 a 336 

12. *Debar. R. ii. 33 104 c 

258 (306) 

13. *Echa. R. i. 10* 299 

14. *Esther R. ix. 2 14 b 87 

15. Sh.ha-Sh.R.ii. 13 17 C 207 

16. *Qoh. R. i. 8 3 d -4 c 

139, 153, 188, 211, 

215, 218, 336 
vii. 26 21 d 219 

17. Pesiqta. 

35 h 
68 b 

* 122 b 

18. Pesiqta. R. 90 b 

98 a 

* „ ioo b j 

19. Tanhuma § 30 


20. Jalqut. Sh. § 359 






265 n. 




31 (Ap.) 


30 (Ap.) 






KX. *-